SIX Shoalhaven residents have been honoured in this year’s Queen’s Birthday awards.
Ulladulla’s Doreen Rash was awarded the OAM for service to veterans and their families and to the community, Mollymook’s Elaine Spring the OAM for service to the community, Patricia Yates, late of Ulladulla the OAM for service to the community through music,
Basin View’s Peter Lloyd was awarded the AC for service to the aviation industry, particularly air safety in Australia, Shoalhaven Heads’ Bruce Fagan the OAM for services to Judo, while in the military section of the awards, Commodore Vince Di Pietro was awarded the AM for exceptional service as Commander of the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm and as Australia's Naval Attaché to the United States.
Patti Yates will be honoured for her service to the community through music however her son Gary, said the award is a bitter sweet one.
Patti passed away in October last year after complications from heart surgery, however her music lives on in the Ulladulla community.
She is best known for directing the Entertainers between 1989 and 2015. She had already selected most of the music and had begun preparations for the 2016 show before she died. The 2016 show was performed as usual a couple of weeks ago.
She was also a volunteer piano player for Musical Hall concerts and phsysical culture classes for 30 years.
Her passion was passing on her musical knowledge to younger generations and Patti spent many school productions at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Primary School and Ulladulla Primary School as recently as last year.
“She was a passionate supporter of young people,” said son, Gary Yates.
“This year’s Entertainers show would have validated her belief in young people,” he said.
It was well known among friends and family that Patti disliked being in the limelight.
“She shared everything with the community,” Gary said.
Gary and her other son Michael will accept Patti’s Order of Australia medal on behalf of the community as they feel this is what Patti would have wanted.
Mollymook’s Elaine Spring is surprised and humbled to have been awarded an Order of Australia medal.
As far as Elaine is concerned, helping people is just the done thing.
“My parents were always helping people,” she said.
“I have just always done it too.”
Elaine co-founded the the Mollymook Embroiderers Guild of New South Wales and is a member of the spinners and weavers group. She uses her needlework skills to help the community wherever she can.
She is a member of the ladies Auxiliary since 1995 and a member of the Milton Show Society since 1987 where she volunteered in the Needlework section.
Through St Martin's Anglican Church Ulladulla, Elaine assisted in creating 'Genesis' quilted wall hangings.
In addition to her sewing, she has also done plenty of other volunteer work for organisations such as the Red Cross. She is still a telecross volunteer.
“I like talking to people,” she said.
When the Times Newspaper rang Elaine to chat about her OAM, we had to be quick because she was about to make one of her volunteer telecross phone calls. This is something Elaine has done since 1996 in the Milton and Ulladulla regions and plans to continue.
She was also a volunteer in the Sarah Claydon IRT trash and treasure shop, a Stewart House volunteer and part of Girl Guides in Sydney and Canberra between 1978 and 1983.
Elaine was also a volunteer driver with Ulladulla Meals on Wheels until between 1992 and 2014.
Dawn Rash has been recognised for her outstanding work with the Women’s Auxiliary, part of the Milton Ulladulla RSL sub-branch. She is currently the president and has been since 2005. Before this she was the secretary for 15 years.
She was a foundation volunteer of the Pigeon House RSL Day Club and is a life member of the Central Council of NSW Auxiliaries, RSL of Australia.
Her time here involved some hairy volunteer work including visits to prisons.
In addition to her work with the RSL, she has also been a volunteer for 25 years with Meals on Wheels in Sydney then later Ulladulla when she moved here 28 years ago.
She is also a volunteer in the Uniting Church Outreach shop.
“Volunteering is just always something I have done,” said Dawn.
“It started off with my own kids when they got into Youth Club and I just never stopped being in Youth Club,” she said.
Dawn said she was humbled by the nomination and very excited to be receiving the prestigous award but the best part of her volunteering efforts are the “beautiful friends I have made.”
Commodore Vince Di Pietro
Commodore Vince Di Pietro was both surprised and honoured to be awarded of the AM in the Queen’s Birthday honours but was quick to praise “the great teams and personnel” he worked with during his 39-year naval career.
CDRE Di Pietro (retired) was made a Member (AM) in the Military Division of the Order of Australia for his exceptional service as Commander of the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm from January 2013 to January 2016 and as Australia's Naval Attaché to the United States from June 2007 to June 2010.
CDRE Di Pietro's passion, drive and performance distinguished him as an astute and highly strategic thinker.
His commitment and diplomatic skills as Naval Attaché provided extraordinary access to United States cooperation and assistance.
As Commander of the Fleet Air Arm, he exerted constructive influence to inspire commitment and accomplishment and his achievements offered substantial benefit to Australia's defence capability which will resonate long into the future.
He oversaw one of the most exciting times for the Fleet Air Arm, with the introduction of the new MH-60R Seahawk Romeos as well as massive upgrades and new facilities at HMAS Albatross.
“It’s a great honour and it came as a big surprise,” CDRE Di Pietro said.
“It is all very exciting and is great recognition for a time in my career that came with its own rewards.
“This award is also a reflection on the amazing teams I worked with during this period who were doing amazing things. What we achieved was fantastic.
“I’m pleased for them as well. Sure, I get to wear the medal, but you have to realise how many people’s lives were part of what we did during that time.”
CDRE Di Pietro, who has just retired from the navy after 39 years, said to represent Australia in Washington DC as the Naval Attaché was a “huge honour”.
“But to also come back to HMAS Albatross as the Commander of the Fleet Air Arm, where I started my career as a 17-year-old was amazing,” he said.
“It is hard not to say they were the best two jobs I had during my time in the navy but I have been lucky to have had some wonderful positions and work with some wonderful people.”
Despite retiring he will remain in the local area and wants to be involved in the Shoalhaven community.
“I’m recharging my batteries, looking forward to the next challenge life brings,” he said.
“But we will remain in the local area.
“I want to to get back into the hunt in whatever capacity will allow me to use the skills, knowledge and things I have learned, especially in my last couple of jobs and the many before it,” he said.
“I want to continue to contribute.”
He also paid credit to the support of his wife Sandy and his children Flavia, Louisa and Olivia and son-in-law Sam.
“To be able to do what we do in uniform around the world, you cannot take for granted the support we receive from our families,” he said.
“The stability of family support and love surrounding you is the greatest single foundation stone and we cannot give enough homage and respect for what they do for us at home.
“The navy and the nation asks a lot of us and we couldn’t do it without them.”
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