Reward: Bill Ryan, of Alstonville, has been awarded the Order of Australia for his services to the community.
Reward: Bill Ryan, of Alstonville, has been awarded the Order of Australia for his services to the community. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Special order for humble volunteer

DEDICATED Alstonville volunteer Bill Ryan is being made a member of the Order of Australia.

Mr Ryan, 75, will now have the right to put the letters OAM after his surname, but he's not letting the honour go to his head.

"I'm still just Bill Ryan as far as I'm concerned," he said.

Mr Ryan has been awarded the OAM for his service to the community through the United Protestant Association of NSW, which is an organisation that works with disadvantaged children and the elderly.

He joined the association in 1982 and has served as its state president for a total of 17 years.

Mr Ryan estimates he spends up to 48 hours reading documents to chair the group's meetings, which he travels to Sydney once a month to attend.

"I'm not the type to sit at home reading the paper," he said.

Mr Ryan is also current chairperson of the Alstonville Uniting Church and secretary of Alstonville Probus Club.

He has been married to Margaret Ryan for 51 years and the couple have four children and six grandchildren.

United Protestant Association of NSW regional manager Ken Maslen said he was thrilled to hear his friend's hard work and strong leadership qualities were being recognised.

"Bill is a very humble yet highly respected man who leads by example and applies the values of compassion, respect, integrity and kindness in his everyday life and dealings," he said.

"This has enabled him to fulfil his desire to serve some of the most vulnerable in our society - those in the aged and youth care sector."

Anyone can nominate someone for the OAM and the 19-member Council for the Order of Australia then considers the nominations.

Mr Ryan suspects someone from Gillwinga Primary School in Grafton, where he volunteered for 16 years, nominated him for the award.

"I was very surprised to get the letter but it was nice to feel someone thought I was worthy of it," he said.

"I guess it won't really sink in until they pin the medal on me."



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