He began volunteering at the tender age of 19, and Bruce Cant intends to keep helping people as long as he can.
Bruce achieved the award of Medal of the Order (OAM), for service to the community of Wauchope, and in typically modest fashion, he feels humbled by it and paid tribute to other people.
The Wauchope man was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List alongside four others across the Hastings - Alan Morris (AM), Edna Lamb (OAM), Robyn Coombes (OAM) and Gerry de Vries (OAM).
Bruce has been director of the Wauchope RSL since 2004 and a member since 1968.
He joined the Lions Club in Wauchope in 1986, and has carried out many roles including president, treasurer and catering officer. He is a life member and a board member.
He's perhaps best known for his work with the Hastings Support Group of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, joining in 2005, and has been chairman since 2007. It has raised a staggering $800,000 over the years.
He has been a member of Port Macquarie-Hastings Legacy Club since 1993, and is vice-president of the Hastings Court Senior Citizens Home for the Aged.
Awards and recognition include:
- 50 Year Service Award, Wauchope Sub-Branch, Returned and Services League of Australia, 2018.
- Life Member, Wauchope Sub-Branch, Returned and Services League of Australia, 2013.
- Hastings Port Macquarie Citizen of the Year, 2011.
- Wauchope Citizen of the Year, 1985 and 2010.
- Lions Melvin Jones Award.
- Community Spirit Award, Wauchope Country Music Festival, 2009.
"I'm excited and very grateful to those who nominated me. I do community work because I like helping old people," said Bruce, who is 80 years old.
"I intend to go on helping people as long as I can. There's no reason not to."
Bruce was already raising money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service when tragically, his son-in-law was involved in an accident on a mountain in Comboyne, and helicopter staff stayed with him overnight and picked him up but he didn't survive the fall.
"That inspires us to keep on working for the service. They were so good," said Bruce, who started volunteering at the age of 19 for the cricket club in Long Flat.
"In the Lions Club, we help people who are less fortunate than ourselves. We give away a lot of money. We support young sports people through the Lions Club Sports Foundation."
And he paid tribute to his wife, who volunteers with him, and supports his efforts.
"I feel that my wife, Shirley, owns half the award," he said.