Bruce Wallace and Glen Isemonger are local legends. The two friends and former high-school teachers hail from the NSW south coast town of Gerringong. Bruce, Glen, and their Wave of Relief team have supported SurfAid for the past 15 years, raising over $85,000 through their annual music trivia night.
The Wave of Relief may have been postponed for 2020 but the story of their generosity is as relevant as ever. They have proven, when a coastal community work together they can make a long-term and sustainable impact for our remote and isolated families.
Bruce and Glen’s SurfAid story begins on a sunny Boxing Day in 2004, they joined friends and family at the beach to surf and enjoy the holiday festivities. Their day changed forever as the news of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami broke. The world stood still as more than 200,000 of our neighbours lost their lives and millions were displaced from their homes.
Shocked by the extreme devastation caused across Southeast Asia they knew they wanted to take action and raise funds for an organisation reaching those most affected on the ground. “We decided as a group of families we needed to do something,” said Bruce.
Organising member Ian Gilbertson, was responsible for putting toward a partner organisation and SurfAid was the top choice. “SurfAid was one of the first responders to the disaster and it was great to know that our contribution could have an immediate effect.”
In early 2005 the group mobilised and plans for a music trivia night involving the whole community began to form. The location was picked, the local town hall. Tunes were selected, prizes were sourced, an auction was planned and tickets went on sale.
To their relief, the event was a sell-out, and Gerringong’s highly anticipated annual fundraiser was born. With a full house on the night, the local’s were generous with their attendance and donations. The crew had such a good time, they decided to turn it into a regular event.
Community leaders at heart, Bruce and Glen are both originally from Sydney and have known each other for more than 30 years. Alongside his teaching career, Bruce was the President of the Australian Schoolboys Rugby League for 17 years, even coaching the team for three international matches.
Glen had a successful career as a school principal and moved into the nonprofit sector finishing his career with AIME – Australian Ingenious Mentoring Experience. Glenn is a music lover, he plays drums in a local band, Behind the Door.
Glenn and Bruce are keen surfers themselves and are often found longboarding at their local Seven Mile beach, “All our kids love to surf. They have all helped and supported this most worthy cause,” say’s Bruce.
The Wave of Relief Committee has changed since their early formation but each member has been important to the success of the ongoing event.
A shout out to Bruce Wallace, Glen Isemonger, Andrew Heffernan, Ian Gibertson, Roger Wall, Chris Cutting and Paul Camilleri for 15 years of fundraising for SurfAid. Thank you to the Wave of Relief Committee and everyone in Gerringong for making our programs possible.