Always a volunteer, now a hero

Published: June 9, 2008 | 7151st good news item since 2003

DONALD Thompson is apprehensive about the attention he will get from the close-knit Rochester community when his Medal of the Order of Australia is announced this morning.

A long-term local, Mr Thompson received his OAM for services to the Rochester community.

“I’m a bit embarrassed about the whole thing,” he said.

“I don’t do these things for a reason.”

Mr Thompson has spent most of his adult life helping others and has been recognised previously, including the 2004 Australia Day Campaspe Shire Citizen of the Year.

He began voluntary work in the 1950s at Rochester Apex Club, where he worked for 25 years in various roles.

Since then, he has been at the hub of community life in many ways, including operating a 24-7 RACV agency for 14 years employing and training apprentices and providing work for about 30 locals at the garage he has owned for the past 36 years.

Mr Thompson has contributed more than 150 hours of his own time improving the Rochester cemetery and in 1988 was elected chairman of the cemetery trust, a position he still holds.

The father of four and grandfather of six said having a supportive family was vital when people take an active role in their community.

“It makes it easy to do this work when you’ve got an understanding family. Without that, it wouldn’t work.”

Although embarrassed, Mr Thompson is touched by his OAM nomination.

“You know you’re doing quite a service to the community, and the community wouldn’t exist without volunteers.

“Rochester is a wonderful community and a wonderful town.”

Published in Heroes
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