A life dedicated to the welfare veterans has seen Peakhurst resident Harold ‘Dick” Matthews awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Mr Matthews, 84, has been the president of the Riverwood Sub-branch Australian Legion of Ex-servicemen and Women for the past 20 years.
He is also state president of the Australian Legion of Ex-Service Men and Women, a member of the Australia Air League Riverwood Squadron and a committee member of the Knights of St George Heart Association.
He is also involved with the Australian Veterans and Defence Services Council.
Mr Matthews joined the army as a National Serviceman in 1951 during the Korean conflict. When his service ended after five years he signed on for another term, serving with the Air Force.
He was attached to the No 2 Squadron at Richmond and served most of his time at Bankstown Aerodrome in the packing and preservation section, preparing aircraft parts to be shipped overseas.
Service has played a big part of his life since his early years.
“As a child in World World II my mother, Nona was an air raid warden at Carlton and when the sirens went off my mother and I went out spotting lights,” he said.
“If someone had a light shining through a window we would knock on the door and ask them to turn it off.”
At age 12 he joined St John Ambulance as a cadet. While others enjoyed the football in winter and beach in summer, as a child he was there working as a member of the St John Ambulance.
Mr Matthews now devotes his life to veterans causes.
He and his wife Mavis attend many ceremonies at the Cenotaph in Martin Place and other memorial services.
The most recent was a service for Indigenous servicemen held at the memorial at Hyde Park.
He is also involved in the Australian Veterans and Defence Services Council.
“All my spare time is devoted to veteran’s causes,” he said.
“I’ve had a pretty full life.”