FORMER South East business identity Jim Galpin was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) on Saturday for his community-minded approach and focus on the preservation of local history.
A leading accountant in the region for over 50 years, it was everything Mr Galpin did beyond the four walls of the business that led to the recognition.
Mr Galpin was a community stalwart in his original hometown of Port MacDonnell, spearheading a number of historical projects within the town.
That community-minded approach extended to the Blue Lake city where he has been a member of the Mount Gambier West Rotary Club for 45 years.
His contributions to both communities stemmed from a desire to give back to a region, which had given him so much.
“I came from a pretty low background and I have had some very good people who helped me and believed in me over the years,” Mr Galpin said.
“I wanted to give back to the community because I would not have had the success I had without the support of the people.”
Preserving the Woolwash Historical Reserve at Port MacDonnell – with the assistance of the Mount Gambier West Rotary Club – was one project, which made Mr Galpin particularly proud.
“We raised some money and were able to build the shelter and then years later we put the pavings down, which gave all the local residents an opportunity to have their names on the bricks,” he said.
“I think it’s very important for people to know the history of Port MacDonnell and I just could not help but get involved.”
He said Port MacDonnell would always hold a special place in his heart.
“I have a great great grandfather and great great grandmother buried at Port MacDonnell,” he said.
“But my help in preserving the history is not just about my background, but for all the families who have a connection to the coastal town.”
Mr Galpin has been recognised on a number of occasions for his service to different organisations within Mount Gambier.
He is a life member of both the West Gambier Cricket Club and North Gambier Football Club.
“I was volunteer auditor for a number of different organisations including the West Gambier Cricket Club and North Gambier Football Club,” he said.
“I never actually played a game for North, however I was still awarded life membership, which is a great honour.”
He was also the Honorary Auditor for the Port MacDonnell Meals on Wheels.
In 2009, Mr Galpin was awarded the South Australian Police Citizen of the Year for his service to the Mount Gambier Police.
Announced on Saturday as the recipient of an OAM, Mr Galpin has now had a chance to reflect on the award.
He said he was surprised, but honoured to be nominated by someone within the local community.
“You do not have to accept the award, but I would have seen that as pretty disrespectful to the people who nominated me, so I was honoured to receive it,” Mr Galpin said.
“You do not do these things to be acknowledged, but when you do it is pretty special and it really does mean something.