IN a first, judges of the Orange 2014 citizen of the year could not split two exceptional nominees who have given countless hours to their community.
Doctor David Howe and Denis Mullen were called to the podium in the rotunda at Cook Park on Australia Day by ambassador Jacinta Tynan amid loud cheers from the crowd, indicating the dual choice was a popular one among the people of Orange.
Dr Howe was the first to respond after receiving the award for 22 years’ commitment to providing medical services to children fighting cancer at Camp Quality.
Mr Mullen, known as the “Mr Chips of Nashdale” after being principal of the school for 18 years was the second to respond thanking the people of Orange for the rich lives he and his wife have enjoyed.
In his humble way, he did not refer to the many years of volunteer work he has put into organisations such as St Vincent de Paul, Legacy, and his services to Duntryleague in compiling a book of the property’s historic trees.
“My wife has put up with me for 65 years and it is lovely to have her and four generations of my family here today,” he said.
“We have wonderful medical services here in Orange which have helped our family and I think Orange is the best town in Australia,” he said.
“I’m a country boy at heart who is proud to have Orange as my home,” he said.
Dr Howe said he was grateful for the initiative shown by Martha Brown when she asked him would he help out with medical services when Camp Quality was held in Orange many years ago.
“I arrived here 32 years ago as a city slicker from a migrant background,” he said.
Every year since he first became involved in Camp Quality Dr Howe has left Orange to lend his expertise and support in helping children and their families on holiday as they deal with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Councillor Reg Kidd paid tribute to Dr Howe saying every year he paid for a locum out of his own pocket to come to Orange and take over as he went off to care for sick children at his own expense.
“It has been encouraging to see so many children beat cancer and grow up and come back to help at Camp Quality,” he said.
Mayor of Orange John Davis paid tribute to the calibre of the volunteers nominated for this year’s Australia Day awards and also extended a warm welcome to the city’s newest citizens.