THE Wimmera Mail-Times this week pays tribute to two legends of our community – two men who made our community a better place for their efforts.
The outpouring of grief for Horsham man Don Johns and Dimboola’s Harry John shows the true impact these two men had on their towns and the wider region.
The list of his involvement is a mile long – from his roles as three-time mayor of Horsham to his work with Tidy Towns, to the fight for the betterment of the region’s health, sport and so very much more.
His drive for a cancer centre in the Wimmera will provide greater opportunities of those fighting the terrible disease.
Its benefits will touch every member of our community in some way.
Don lived to hear that funding for the centre was fully secured – but sadly, he won’t get to witness the fruit of his labour on that momentous day when the centre eventually opens.
Don was no stranger to the Mail-Times.
He would spend many a Wednesday morning in our former Wilson Street office, discussing the hot topics with editors over the years.
He was never afraid to speak his mind – and it’s a quality that, while at times confronting, is one to admire.
Harry John was synonymous with music, performing and especially with the Horsham Rural City Brass Band.
The Horsham bandmaster for 25 years, he played the Last Post on Remembrance Day for 79 consecutive years.
That’s truly remarkable.
“It didn’t matter where he was on Remembrance Day – he could be in Melbourne or in the middle of the desert, wherever he was, he made sure he played the Last Post,” daughter Jan John said.
Many members of our community will recall his prowess with many instruments, as well as his contribution to Dimboola service clubs.
While in Friday’s newspaper we celebrate their lives, it’s not the first time Don Johns and Harry John have shared headlines in the same edition of the Mail-Times.
Articles in 2014 celebrated Don receiving an honorary doctorate from Federation University and commemorated Harry’s retirement as Horsham bandmaster.
May their legacies live on.
Jessica Grimble, editor