Humbled, astounded, proud. The Border and North East men and women named in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours share both a commitment to their community and surprise they have been singled out. But many years of active service stand testament to their contributions.
Eliza Ault-Connell AM
An international medallist in wheelchair racing, Albury's Eliza Ault-Connell has also been recognised for her community health work around meningococcal disease, which she contracted nearly 22 years ago.
"I essentially didn't want other people to have to experience what I had to go through," she said.
"Whatever my life has thrown at me, education for awareness of early symptoms as well as vaccinations has been a huge driver and a huge passion of mine."
Director and advocate of Meningococcal Australia since 2015, Mrs Ault-Connell has been lobbying for more vaccines to be included in the national immunisation program so all families can afford them.
"I consider those very much boxes ticked there, we still have a little way to go yet," she said.
"If you choose to vaccinate against this disease it should be far more accessible than it is."
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Angus Macneil AM
In his early 20s, Rand farmer Angus Macneil attended a football club meeting where no one wanted to take on the president's role.
"And in the end I said I'll do it, and I didn't have a clue how to run a meeting or anything like that so that's really where it all started," he said.
More than 50 years later, Mr Macneil's service to primary industry and the community has encompassed the NSW Farmers Association, Grain Producers Australia, the then Urana Shire Council, Landcare NSW and numerous committees in Rand.
"I just wanted to contribute back to society that had given me such a good start in life, I guess that was really the motivator," he said.
"Often the giver gets more out of it than the receiver ... it might be the smallest little thing ever, but I go to bed that night sort of feeling happy that I've done something for somebody."
Mr Macneil nominated an Alzheimers fundraiser that attracted 700 people to Melbourne Town Hall about 15 years ago as a particularly satisfying project.
Graeme Budd OAM
Education and youth exchange have always been high priorities for Benalla Rotarian and retired school principal Graeme Budd.
A visit to Bengal, India, led he and wife Joy in 2007 to become supporters of the Awake and Shine School run by a retired Indian army general, fundraising through their Rotary club and visiting regularly.
"We've added to it in a big way because we take over $8000 to $9000 each year," Mr Budd said.
"I do the local things too, but this was the overseas one, mainly because it was involving a school and I've spent all my life in schools."
He is humbled to accept his Order of Australia Medal "in the knowledge that I'm only one person among many".
"You just have to be the figurehead but there are so many others that contribute to this," he said.
"You don't achieve these things on your own."
Eileen Collins OAM
Decades of service to conservation and the environment have seen Chiltern's Eileen Collins recognised.
A driving force behind Friends of Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park, Mrs Collins has been the group's president, founding member and convener since 1984 and newsletter editor for about 26 years.
She became a member of BirdLife Australia in 1962 and part of its Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team in the 1990s.
A Healthy Parks, Healthy People volunteer with Parks Victoria, Mrs Collins is also a member of the Victorian National Parks Association, which gave her a Best Friend Award in 2011.
She was also recognised with a Parks Victoria Kookaburra Lifetime Contribution Award in 2000 and this year received a certificate of achievement from Indigo Council on Australia Day.
Lorraine Crawford OAM
Generations of young basketball players have been guided by Albury administrator and coach Lorraine Crawford.
Mrs Crawford first played the sport in the 1970s and helped establish what is now Lavington Panthers Basketball Club in 1981.
She served about 35 years as secretary and remains team liaison officer and a board member, also made a life member in 1988.
For Albury Basketball Association, Mrs Crawford has been a board member, competition administrator, committee member and even welcomed import players into her home to stay.
Between 1990 and 1994 she was team manager for the Albury Cougars senior women's basketball team in state league competitions.
"I just love seeing the kids improve," she said.
"They start in under 10s, they can't even reach the basketball ring and then in no time they just take off and something clicks.
"They're just happy if they've got a basketball in their hands."
John Dunstan OAM
After retiring to Yarrawonga-Mulwala 20 years ago, John Dunstan helped the RSL sub-branch set up a program of hospital visiting similar to one he'd started in his former community on the Mornington Peninsula.
"This is a wonderful town for volunteers," he said.
"It's something that's grown from virtually nothing to a regular event which is highly appreciated by all the people who need help."
Now 96, Mr Dunstan is thrilled to have been recognised by his country in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.
"I come from a family of volunteers, all of us ex-serviceman, First and Second World War," he said.
"I never ever thought anything like this would occur, it was just sort of normal for our family."
Ray Koschel OAM
Born and raised in Finley, Ray Koschel, 88, has contributed to numerous groups in his home town, including Probus, the show society, bowling, tennis and swimming clubs.
"A small country town, you can't help but get involved with some of the things that are needed," he said.
That included a swimming pool, with Mr Koschel among those who raised funds for the facility and helped it stay afloat, so to speak.
"It wasn't always easy, there was a time when we didn't have any manager and I took six weeks off work to keep it going for the summer," he said.
A founding member of Finley Pony Club, Mr Koschel also led the former Billabong Junior Football League.
"I always had the thing ... 'Give a little of yourself each day, expect nothing in return and one day you might be pleasantly surprised'," he said.
Ian McLeod OAM
Both as a solicitor and a volunteer, Ian McLeod has served the community of Lockhart for more than 50 years.
Involved in establishing Woodhaven Aged Care Hostel, he was its chairman between 1990 and 2016 and also a former secretary.
Mr McLeod has been willing to take on leadership roles for a range of Lockhart groups like the aged care association, Rotary, serving 10 years as treasurer on the hospital board and the golf club, where he was president for about seven years in total and treasurer from 2002 to 2012.
In 1974 he was a founding member and inaugural president of his town's Apex branch.
Part of the Law Society of NSW since 1968, Mr McLeod has provided philanthropic support to events such as the Spirit of the Land Festival, Pedalcure 4 MND, Lockhart Picnic Races and Lockhart Show.
Lockhart Council presented him with an award for outstanding community service on Australia Day 2017.
Ray Waters OAM
A liking for history, military and local, led Ray Waters, of Corryong, towards some, but by no means all, of his community projects.
Mr Waters returned to his home town in 2003 and has been a volunteer driver for Corryong Health ever since as well as a longtime volunteer at the visitor information centre.
A member of both the RSL and Legacy, he was Corryong RSL secretary for 11 years, including the first year of World War I 100th anniversary commemorations.
"That was a lot of hard work, but it was quite satisfying seeing all that come together," he said.
"You've got to remember, it's too easily forgotten and when it's forgotten, it's gone."
Vice-president and research officer at the Man from Snowy River Museum for many years, Mr Waters was an inaugural member of the Corryong Men's Shed and its president since 2015.
Humbled by his honour, Mr Waters thanked his wife Lesley for all her support.
Mark Zagorski OAM
Tawonga GP Mark Zagorski hadn't experienced much small town medicine when he began in the alpine region 38 years ago.
"It's the complete package, you look after people from birth to death and everything in between," he said.
Honoured for his service to medicine, Dr Zagorski is a partner at Mount Beauty Medical Centre and has a branch practice at Falls Creek, particularly busy during the snow season.
Foundation fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine since 1998, he served as Rural Doctors Association Victoria treasurer from 1991 to last year.
In 2008 the Rural Doctors Association of Australia named him Rural Doctor of the Year.
"What I do and what I have done, I don't see that as anything super-special, it's just evolved," Dr Zagorski said.
"You start off just doing your normal job and then somebody comes along and says, 'Can you help out with this?' or 'Can you start teaching that?', so you do that, then it becomes part of your daily life."
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