Lifetime of service to others honoured

Lifetime of service to others honoured

MADDINGTON resident Graham Lewis has spent his life serving his country and his community.

It is his work in the Navy as well as the multiple voluntary roles the 70-year-old has had in the community for the past 40 years that has seen him awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.

His time in the navy means that he now lives with a self-described “severe case” of posttraumatic stress disease. (PTSD).

After being born in February of 1946, he first joined the Navy in 1962 and saw active service in 1964 in Indonesia and South-east Asia.

“I have all sorts of flashbacks and that has required medication for over 30 years,” he said. “When you are in action it’s a whole other world. I was still 17 when I saw active service – most kids that age are still in school.

“Some of my days start good, finish lousy.”

He said he knew he would be on medication for the rest of his life and there was no backing off from that.

Along with his Navy days, he has also served his community in various voluntary roles.

While living in Kalgoorlie in 1975 he was asked to become a Justice of the Peace and has been doing so ever since.

He said he regularly goes to Hakea Prison to asses people to become sureties for prisoners.

“Every day of my life there is JP work to be done,” he said.

“I have always served. I served my country and I serve my fellow man – that is what I do.

“I have always done things that help other people.”

One of his voluntary roles as been with TS Canning as a voluntary instructor officer.

He was promoted in command in 1981 after just one of being involved and said he helped build up the unit which helped prepare people for life.

Mr Lewis has also been involved in wood turning for 15 years and spent five years from 1998-2002 voluntarily driving for senior citizens taking them on day trips.

Originally his task was to take seniors to shopping centres but he then he pitched the idea of going on trips to the countryside.

He began taking them to country towns such as Northam, York and Pinjarra.

Mr Lewis has since joined the Liddlelow Homestead in Kenwick to participate in woodturning and eventually became an inaugural member of the Gosnells Woodturners Club.

After learning about woodturning and being awarded prizes in competitions, he began teaching at the Wandi Woodturners.

He started with one member at

Wandi and it has since grown to more than 15 members.

Mr Lewis said one of his greatest achievements was teaching a disabled man with the use of only one arm to turn.