Local solicitor Eris Gleeson has been awarded an Australia Day Honour for his service to the community through all of the various groups and organisations he is a part of.
Mr Gleeson has not sought accolades for his work within the community, rather he has seen a need and done what he can to meet that need.
From his work with Mercy Care, Hilltops Suicide Prevention Network, Young Regional School of Music, Hilltops Regional Theatre Company, Young Neighbourhood Centre, a supporter and advocate for Margaret House, Young Yabbies Rugby Union Club and a former president of Hennessy Catholic College and St Mary's Primary School Parents and Friends, St Mary's Catholic Church Pastoral Council and Hilltops Wine Society of Wine Growers Mr Gleeson has quietly and efficiently worked in a range of areas all for the betterment of the community.
In 2021 Mr Gleeson was also named the Citizen of the Year by the Young Australia Day Committee, so for many that know him, it would come as no surprise that Mr Gleeson has been nominated and awarded an Australia Day Honour.
Mr Gleeson however was surprised when he received the news.
"It's one of those things that you don't expect," he said.
"We're all aware that there's an amazing amount of good work that's done in the community and a lot of it is never recognised."
Mr Gleeson said he has been humbled by the award, however his thoughts are with all of the other members of the community who work quietly and tirelessly.
"It's quite a privilege," he said.
"I feel humbled but I do feel for people who don't get recognised.
"It is nice to be thanked, it's nice to be recognised but at the same time I do feel a concern for people who do so much for the community but are not recognised."
Throughout the years there are two projects Mr Gleeson feels most proud of, one being to be able to assist the health service at Mercy Care and the other is the establishment of the Hilltops Suicide Prevention Network.
"They don't look dramatic but you can see the small difference they have made," Mr Gleeson said.
With the community continuing to grow and local groups and organisations looking for new members Mr Gleeson is encouraging locals to get involved. "Be available," Mr Gleeson said.
"One of the great things about a rural community is there's fewer barriers.
"Just turning up if they are available and introducing yourself and push past that reluctance that we all have. Say 'here I am.'"
Mr Gleeson doesn't know who nominated him, however, on top of thanking many people that he has worked with in the groups and organisations throughout the years, he does thank his wife, Dr Fiona Gleeson for her hard work, not only as a local GP, but for her dedication to her family that allowed Mr Gleeson to be able to pursue his community initiatives.
"Fiona is a very busy GP and has had to carry more of the family tasks to enable me to attend to these meetings and activities," he said. "Fiona and the other health workers have done an amazing job looking after people, especially during COVID, without an awful lot of recognition.
"I would not have been able to have done the community work I have without Fiona's assistance."