What’s your connection to Melton?
I moved here with my wife of 40 years. Her mum and dad lived here and we have a big family so we wanted to be close to them.
How long have you lived in the area?
Thirty three years.
How do you feel being awarded a medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to veterans and their families?
Surprised! It came as a big surprise. The process takes almost two years which means that I was nominated in 2016 by some very sneaky people who have a lot to answer for. It’s a great honour.
Tell me about your service in the Australian Army.
I was a national serviceman in the army from February 1968 and served in Vietnam in February 1969 until December 1969. I was called up to enlist at 19 years old and was deferred for a couple of times because I had an ankle injury from football. I finally went when I was 21. When I left the army I went back to work at Fletcher Jones clothing for 20 years and spent another 20 as sales manager in the automotive industry.
How did you become involved in the Melton Returned and Services League?
I didn’t worry too much about RSL at first. I was busy working, getting married and raising my family. About 10 years ago I became involved in the RSL because I wanted to help bring the community together. I joined the RSL because ANZAC and Remembrance day are for veterans more than for everyone else. I wanted to improve the way we mark the day and celebrate our veterans in Melton. I took on the challenge and to my delight, it’s grown from nothing to more than 1000 people attending each year. It’s a team effort and the committee is owed as much as I am. Huge support from the local council all the way through.
What are you passionate about?
I’m a big supporter of children, the more we can teach them what the armed forces can do for their community, the better for them. It gets people involved with it again. Young people need to have respect for what others have done for their country. It tightens a community and if we can be part of that, it’s a huge help.
What hats do you wear in the community?
I am the president of the Melton RSL, I was a founding member and I’m the vice president of the Vietnam Veterans Association which has its 25 anniversary next year. We are also involved in a whole lot of other wonderful little projects. We’re always there to help.
What do you love about Melton?
I love the way the community comes together. With ANZAC day, we used to get one school there to help mark the day. We now write to 22 schools and we get about 20 schools turning out.