Q&A with Anglicare Maintenance Coordinator, pilot, former builder and gardener, David Lefrancke

Spotlight Q&A

Meet David Lefrancke and find out about his recent emergency trip to assist Anglicare nurses in Roma, why he loves his job, what he thinks about our churches’ responses to COVID-19’s challenges and what he would write on a billboard and why

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David Lefrancke was a builder for 40 years before commencing work with Anglicare in 2017. He is married to Svetlana and lives in Caboolture.

How long have you been working for Anglicare and in what role?

I have been working for Anglicare for nearly three years – it will be three years in June. Before I started working at Anglicare, I was a builder for 40 years. I was working for big construction companies and I wanted to do something different in the latter stages of my career. The Anglicare role came along and I felt that I wanted to help people, such as elderly people in aged-care homes and vulnerable children and families.

What is the name of your current role and what does your role involve?

I am the Maintenance Coordinator for Anglicare Southern Queensland. I maintain Anglicare’s leased and owned buildings, offices and infrastructure. This include repairs, improvements and refurbs. I work across all three Regions as far north as Bundaberg, to Roma in the west and down to Southport on the Gold Coast.

“I have been working for Anglicare for nearly three years – it will be three years in June. Before I started working at Anglicare, I was a builder for 40 years”

What projects and activities are you currently working on?

The main thing I am currently working on at present is coordinating the moves of the Community Services Offices from Nambour to a new building, also in Nambour. We are also moving an office in Caboolture to another bigger office in Caboolture. I manage major projects like these alongside day-to-day maintenance requests for lawn mowing, air-conditioning servicing and fire safety compliance checks.

What have been the highlights of your role so far?

Recently, I delivered personal protective equipment, masks and hand sanitiser to our Roma office, which is five hours’ drive from Brisbane. Fortunately, I co-own a light plane, so instead of driving to Roma, I flew the gear to the Roma airport. We were met at the airport by Service Coordinator Tracey O’Brien who said that the Anglicare nurses were really looking forward to receiving the supplies.

Visiting aged-care homes is also a highlight for me. I love walking through the homes and chatting to the residents – it is very enlightening. Their faces light up when they show you family photos on their walls and tell you their stories. I visit aged-care homes when I do annual building audits.

I was chatting to one bloke in his late 80s early last year and he showed me photographs of his motorcycle travels around Australia before the second world war. He and a friend navigated their way around the country on dirt roads using old Norton-like bikes.

“Recently, I delivered personal protective equipment, masks and hand sanitiser to our Roma office, which is five hours’ drive from Brisbane. Fortunately, I co-own a light plane, so instead of driving to Roma, I flew the gear to the Roma airport”

What have been the key challenges of your roles so far and how have you worked through these?

Having worked in the building industry for 40 years, I have pretty much seen it all. I am an outdoorsy type and I have needed to get used to spending so much time sitting in offices in front of the computer.

What are your plans and goals for the next 12 months?

I see things getting busier as Anglicare takes more adolescents into their care and we purchase more properties to house the kids.

Can you tell us a little about your personal faith journey?

I am a Christian and I follow Christian beliefs. I like to follow the commandments and the old adage that we should treat people the way we would like to be treated.

How does your faith inspire you and shape your outlook, life choices and character?

I try and help people out as much as I can. For me, being a Christian is about how you treat people every day in your life and not about ticking boxes. I have met many Christians who go to church faithfully every Sunday, but when it comes to helping their neighbour, they develop a sudden amnesia.

What is your favourite scripture and why?

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7.12). This is the way Jesus wants people to act. This Bible verse has a timeless message.

What person of faith inspires you the most and why?

I don’t think he was a churchman, but in World War 2 a Polish factory owner and business man named Oskar Schindler used his influence in the Nazi Party to save more than 1000 Jewish men, women and children by recruiting them to work in his factory, even smuggling some out. The story was made famous in the 1993 film Schindler’s List.

What are the primary strengths of the Church and what is the best way to make the most of these for the benefit of our communities?

The church has always been a refuge in times of need historically. You can even see this now with the challenges of the coronavirus. It is pretty cool how the Church has adapted, and so quickly. The live streaming of services and the Easter telecasts show how forward thinking the Church has become. Even though church buildings are closed, people are still able to seek refuge and connect online.

What are the primary challenges currently encountered by the Church and what is the best way to overcome these for the benefit of our communities?

I think the Church globally needs to be more open and welcoming, including to gender and sexually diverse people, and even more transparent. This will help to make the Church more relevant to, and understood, by the broader community.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received and who gave you this advice?

No matter what you do in business or at home, be honest and straightforward to people. This is the best advice my mother ever gave me.

What do you do in your free time to recharge and relax?

I am a bit of a homebody. I like to potter around my garden. When I am not at home, I like flying my aircraft or going out bush with my wife, Svetlana.

“I am a bit of a homebody. I like to potter around my garden”

If you could have a billboard with any text on it, what would it say and why?

“Parents: love your kids!” next to a big picture of a family spending time together. If more parents took better care of their children, there would not be such a high demand for adolescent homes or teenagers with such serious issues.

Where do you do your best thinking?

Probably in the shower where it is nice and quiet.

What’s your best childhood memory?

Going up to my Auntie’s place with my four brothers and sisters to her property outside Warwick at Christmas time. My Auntie had a high-set home and we would play under the house in the dirt with our cars for hours on end and help milk the cows and separate the milk from the cream in a hut. We also used to go down to help harvest the wheat in the back of a ute.

If you are having a bad day, what do you do to cheer yourself up?

I go for a walk and sit on a bench under a tree. Nothing seems so bad when you take time to reset and sit in nature.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

My wife is Russian and she tells me funny stories about how her colleagues tease her good-naturedly about how she pronounces certain words, such as “work” and “walk”. She sees the funny side of it and has me rolling around laughing with her stories.

David and bride Svetlana on their wedding day: “We married around 10 years ago in Centenary Lake, Caboolture”

What makes you nostalgic and why?

Christmas is always nostalgic for me. I think back to my childhood and all my Christmases spent with my family on my Auntie’s Warwick property.

What day would you like to re-live and why?

My wedding day. We married around 10 years ago in Centenary Lake, Caboolture.

What’s your unanswerable question – the question you are always asking yourself?

What happens after life? Whether you are religious or not, you wonder about this, especially as you get older.

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