Mooroopna’s Kenneth Moore has the honour of adding OAM to his name.
The prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia has been awarded to Mr Moore, 92, for a lifetime of service to the local community.
The award was still a secret last week when The News spoke to Mr Moore, who was looking forward to his family finding out today.
‘‘I’m not allowed to tell anybody. I can’t even tell my family,’’ Mr Moore said.
But it is no secret the award is thoroughly deserved.
The World War II airforce veteran has spent decades serving on and with a list of local clubs and organisations, including as vice-president of the former Mooroopna Returned Services League.
Ironically, the RSL initially refused to grant him membership following World War II.
‘‘For many years I was not classed as a return serviceman... they didn’t accept all members,’’ Mr Moore said.
Mr Moore could not join the armed services until 1944 because of his his age, but as soon as he turned 18 he enlisted in the airforce.
Two years of service saw him end up in Singapore, servicing aircraft.
‘‘I didn’t get overseas until after the war finished,’’ he said.
In 1946, he witnessed the return of Australian prisoners of war from Bangkok as they were shipped through Singapore.
Years later a close friend of Mr Moore convinced him to become a member of the RSL after the membership rules were changed.
‘‘It was many years later. A mate of mine, Wally Hudson, said how about joining the RSL? I said yeah, okay,’’ Mr Moore said.
He has been treasurer and vice-president of the Mooroopna sub-branch and was instrumental in helping with the wind-up when it was merged with Shepparton RSL.
‘‘It was a bit of a shame that it closed down,’’ Mr Moore said of the closure in the early 2000s.
Along with serving at the RSL, Mr Moore has spent decades as a member of the Mooroopna Probus Club and Eschol Lodge, the Masons, along with serving as president of the Shepparton Bowls Club, Mooroopna Croquet Club and Shepparton Central Rotary Club.
‘‘I’m a bit gobsmacked,’’ Mr Moore said of the honour.
‘‘I never expected to be given anything like this.’’
Mr Moore did not plan on any lavish celebration for today, but did admit he might have a quiet whisky to acknowledge the occasion.