OAM salutes life of service

Saskia AdystiGreat Southern Herald

Ongerup’s Barry Savage has received an Order of Australia Medal for service to the Gnowangerup community.

The accolade is given to Australians for their outstanding achievements and commendable service to the nation and Mr Savage, 66, has spent most of his life volunteering.

“When I started volunteering I didn’t know there was an award for this sort of thing,” he said.

“You don’t do this for the award, you do it for the personal enjoyment.”

Mr Savage has been an active member of Gnowangerup community for the past 42 years.

He volunteered with the Ongerup Fire Brigade, Ongerup Primary School and St John Ambulance.

He was also a member of the Gnowangerup Hospital Board for six years and its vice-chairman for one year.

Mr Savage was stunned to learn he’d won the award, and so was his wife, who received the same award 15 years ago.

“Yeah we got a matching pair now,” Mr Savage said.

Janet Savage received the Order of Australia honour 15 years ago for services to the local government. She was president of the Shire of Gnowangerup and also spent time volunteering with her husband.

Mr Savage owns the tyre business in Ongerup and part of the reason he started volunteering was to find a way to thank the people in his community who supported his business.

“One of my favourite moments was when someone knocked on my front door to give me toffees and a big hug just to say thank you,” Mr Savage said.

The Shire of Gnowangerup also rewarded Mr Savage with an Australia Day Citizen of the Year award. Mr Savage still lives in Ongerup and works as a school bus driver.

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