THE Victorian AIDS Council has expressed its condolences to the family and friends of Greig Friday, a longstanding volunteer for the organisation who was identified as one of the victims of the Germanwings Flight 4U9525 tragedy.
Earlier today Foreign Minister Julia Bishop confirmed that two Victorians, Greig and his mother Carol, were on board the Germanwings plane that crashed in the southern French Alps en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf in the early hours of the morning.
Greig started volunteering for VAC in 2007 after completing the Young & Gay Peer Education Workshop. According to the organisation, Greig was instrumental in the success of the workshop, providing assistance and guidance to many young people to overcome homophobia and celebrate their sexual identity.
The VAC stated that Greig also played a key role in the establishment of Young & Gay Alumni, a social support group for participants to remain connected to the community after the workshop.
Young & Gay was recently recognised at Melbourne’s inaugural GLOBE awards in October, which recognised significant contributions to Victoria’s LGBTI community.
VAC peer education coordinator Budi Sudarto, who worked closely with Greig, said he would miss his “witty personality” and sense of humour
“Greig always put others first, and this is evident in his on-going dedication to both Young & Gay and the Peer Education Program,” Sudarto said.
“We will remember Greig, and we want him to know that he left positive mark in the world and put smiles on others’ faces as part of his legacy.”
VAC president Greg Carter echoed the sentiments.
“We express our sincerest condolences to all those that lost loved ones in today’s tragedy, but we’re incredibly saddened that we’ve lost one of our dedicated volunteers,” he said.
“Our thoughts are with Greig’s friends as well as his family, who have lost both Greig and his mother Carol.”
VAC chief executive Simon Ruth said it was volunteers like Greig who helped make his organisation thrive.
“Today we honour Greig’s contributions to VAC and the positive impact he has made on the lives of several young gay men in our community,” Ruth said.
VAC’s health promotions and policy director Colin Batrouney said Greig was a “highly valued volunteer” with the Health Promotion Program.
“Like many young gay men, Greig had to find a way of coming to grips with his sexuality, learn about relationships, and come out in a society that is sometimes hostile to gay men,” Batrouney said.
“Greig did all this with grace and humility. He became a Peer Facilitator with our program, offering support, education and friendship to other gay men facing the same issues.
“His kindness and generosity of spirit will be sorely missed by all of us.”