BEVERLY Hoffmann still can't quite believe she has an Order of Australia Medal.
When she first found out, she thought someone was having a lend of her.
"It was quite funny, because I got the letter on April Fools' Day, and I opened it and it said you've been considered for an OAM and I thought 'Oh yeah, this is a joke'," she said.
"When my daughter came home I said 'I got a practical joke letter today, read it!', and she said 'Mum, I don't think that's a joke'. I keep thinking I'll wake up and it's all a dream."
But it wasn't a dream.
The 84-year-old has been recognised for a life-long devotion to the Dimboola community.
She was a founding member of Dimboola Netball and Croquet clubs, and served as vice president of Dimboola Probus Club.
She has also served as president for the Wimmera's Golf Association Seniors, Dimboola Football Club Ladies Committee and Dimboola Golf Club Ladies Committee.
Mrs Hoffmann has lived in Dimboola her whole life. She was the second oldest child of four children to Cecil and Doris Porter.
Cecil trained with Geelong in the VFL before coming up to play football with Dimboola in 1927.
"We've all had a lot of sporting ability," she said.
"My oldest brother Bill played bowls for Victoria, and my sister Norma won the Wimmera swimming championships one year."
Mrs Hoffmann helped found the Dimboola Netball Club in 1952 at the age of 17 because there "wasn't anything for girls to do in town" at the time.
"We went to Horsham and formed the association with Rupanyup, Nhill and Jeparit," she said.
"We beat Jeparit in the final but because they were unbeaten all year we had to have a replay. So they challenged us and we beat them again, on a court marked out on the middle of the Dimboola football field."
Dimboola went onto win consecutive premierships between 1955 and 1957, but have only won once since in 1985.
Mrs Hoffmann said the club went through some tough times during the drought years.
"We were nearly not going to have a team at one point, but then someone rang me and asked me if I'd go president and I said 'If you're stuck I will', but I think Jo Saxton might have come on at that point," she said.
Mrs Hoffmann stepped away from her official duties at the club in the mid-eighties, at which point her daughter, Diane Dent, took over from her to coach and umpire.
She counts being made a life member of the club and the Wimmera League Netball Association as her proudest moments.
"It made me feel special," she said.
The community had a chance to give back to Mrs Hoffmann when she and husband Kevin lost their home when a clothes dryer started a fire in 2006.
"The support was almost beyond belief," she said.
"I went up to the hospital and the elderly people knitted me a shawl in little squares, which was fantastic, and they had a kitchen tea thing for me where they gave us presents."
After a life of contributing to her community, Mrs Hoffmann has started scaling back her volunteering roles this year.
She said the social side was what compelled her to be involved in the community for so long.
"The Dimboola Golf Club Ladies Committee had their annual general meeting in 1965, and my husband Kevin said 'Don't come home secretary!'," which I was at the time," she said.
"So I went home and I said 'I'm not secretary' and he said 'you're probably president', and I was. I did say no, but the lady that nominated me said she'd go secretary if I went president, and I thought 'What hope have I got?'
"I just don't even stop and think about it, I just go ahead and do it. I think I enjoy the social side, talking to people - my son Brenden says I can talk the leg off an iron kettle!"
Graeme Harris, Donald
Graeme Harris, 74, has been honoured with the Order of Australia Medal.
His contributions to the community exceeded beyond the boundaries of Donald.
Mr Harris has worked with regional development projects with the local shires in St Arnaud, Charlton, Sea Lake and Birchip.
"It's an honour and privilege. I am not too sure if I deserve it," he said.
Mr Harris said it was the community that needed to be credited and acknowledged.
His achievements include helping promote skilled migration benefits to the economic development of Donald for many years.
Mr Harris' children have taken onto his footsteps with son Nathan the managing director of Australian Eatwell in Donald and daughter Marsha Funcke managing Eddie Harris Mensland in town.
Mr Harris and his family have contributed to the community's development by encouraging what he calls "green change", by inviting people from city areas to work in communities such as Birchip.
Mr Harris has credited his success to his friends and family, including support from his wife Sandra.
Over the years, Mr Harris had been part of various community clubs.
He was the president of the Donald Football Club, former president of the Donald Lions Club and a founding member of Donald 2000 Inc. He was also awarded the Donald and District Citizen in the Year award in 1987.
May Ferrier, Birchip
Birchip's May Ferrier, 89, said it was a surprise to be awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her community work in Birchip.
"It was a real surprise to me. I never thought I would ever get one. It feels really nice to be honoured with the medal," she said.
Mrs Ferrier is a member of the Birchip Uniting Church Guild, and has been involved with Wirrim Branch of the County Women's Association of Victoria since 1983.
"I helped out in making a cups of tea for Australia Day for 20 years as part of County Women's Association," she said.
Leolyn Watkins, Ararat
Ararat's Leolyn Watkins has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his contributions to the community.
Mr Watkins has worked closely with Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club, taking up varied roles in the club over the years.
He was a committee member of Mount Cole Cemetery Trust from 1990 until 2013. He was also a part of the Warrak Hall Committee and Warrak Recreation Reserve for 25 years.
Mr Watkins also received recognition as a life member in Warrak Recreation Reserve and Ararat Show Society Inc in 1992.
Karen McIntyre, Lake Bolac
Karen McIntyre was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for playing a key role in the development of the Lake Bolac community.
She was the founding president of the Lake Bolac Development Association Inc and has been a part of teh group since 2000.
She was also president of the Lake Bolac Information and Business Centre and was a founding member of the Lake Bolac Library.
As an author and editor, she has also penned many books outlining the progress and history of Lake Bolac.
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