FEW have sacrificed more for their community than Alan Ould.
And the 90-year-old World War II veteran is overjoyed to have his contribution to Benalla recognised with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
Mr Ould, who has lived in Benalla all his life, received the award for his work with the Returned and Services League’s Benalla sub-branch, which he joined in 1946 after returning from the war.
“I was born here in 1923, and have lived here my whole life apart from the war,” Mr Ould said.
“During that time, I was stationed in northern Australia and the south-west Pacific region.
“When I returned, I joined the RSL and noticed a large percentage of RSL income came from selling badges and poppies.
“I was always out selling poppies because I saw that more money was needed and there was a greater need for it.
“I helped the Benalla sub-branch increase its takings 250 per cent, and now we’ve got a steady income.”
Mr Ould said he had never expected to be awarded an OAM.
“It’s a great feeling, knowing that someone nominated me,” he said.
“It never crossed my mind that I would win something like this.
“These things don’t come around that often, so you have to accept them when they come.”
Mr Ould also received the Centenary Medal in 2001, another award he was grateful to receive.
“They don’t throw that one around much, so I was very humbled to receive that one.”
Mr Ould said it was a privilege being able to see the growth of Benalla in his lifetime.
“I could write a book on it, so much has changed — most of it for the better,” he said.
“I always like to say that I live in the town, not on it.
“I believe that community service is the rent we pay to exist in a privileged community.
“My wife and I went to Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and were touched by the kindness and generosity of everyone to ensure that we were comfortable.
“It made us really proud to be Australians.
“That’s what community is — helping one another.”