Lives of service

The Hills have a long history of producing some of SA and Australia’s great civic leaders.

Their names are featured regularly in The Courier when this newspaper runs articles on the Australia Day and Queen’s Birthday honors.

This year the Australia Day honors have appointed well-known former Federal politician Alexander Downer as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), named veteran and RSL stalwart Jock Statton and SANFL executive commissioner Leigh Whicker as Members in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) and given a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) to conservationist Lloyd Leah and an Australian Fire Service Medal to CFS volunteer Peter Wicks.

All are worthy recipients recognising decades of service to either politics, sport, veteran issues, the environment or community protection.

On the next pages are articles recognising Hills residents who have received less lofty awards but whose service is no less valued.

The Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and civic awards presented by local councils honor those residents who have quietly served their communities, sometimes for decades, outside of their homes and paid jobs.

These people are not famous sporting identities, entertainers, politicians or businessmen and women who have reached the pinnacle of their chosen careers.

They are people whose lives revolve around community and who consider “service” to be part of the core of what it means to be part of a community.

They mend clothing for aged care residents, run walking groups for charity, help overseas visitors feel welcome, volunteer at libraries, serve on community groups, lobby for community facilities, referee children’s sport, weed waterways and mentor young people.

And for every person who is nominated for a council award, there are many more who go unrecognised and don’t expect to be.

One of the characteristics common to many award-winners is their surprise, embarrassment or reluctance to receive their accolade.

They are touched by the nomination but say they give their time because they want to – because they feel passionately about a cause or the community they belong to.

In an era where some metropolitan councils are scrapping their citizenship awards because of a lack of nominations, it is encouraging to see that community service is alive and well in the Hills and local government is prepared to recognise it.