THE Medal of the Order of Australia is one of the country's most prestigious awards, but the Wimmera Mail Times contacted 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours recipient Bruce Meyer, he was busy marking lambs.
The West Wimmera Shire Council mayorreceived the award for service to local government, and to his community.
Apart from having served as mayor no less than seven times, and before that as a councillor on the Shire of Kaniva, Bruce has been deeply involved in many other facets of community life.
The list of his contributions and participation is exhausting just to read, and Mr Meyer admits he sometimes wonders where he finds the time.
But the 70-year-old shows no signs of slowing down.
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"There was one year when I was secretary of the bowling club, show society president, the mayor, and I was doing my own farm work," Mr Meyer said.
"But, if you love your community, you work for your community."
Over his many years of involvement in local government, Mr Meyer said he had gained a lot of satisfaction from being able to improve basic amenities for the residents of the town he loved.
"There used to be 15 unsealed roads in the town and people were getting dust on their houses and in their water tanks - it was a very poor situation," he said.
"Now, just about every street is sealed and the footpath program has been expanded dramatically."
He said serving as mayor was a challenging role that required "patience, persistence and a lot of conciliation".
As a fourth-generation Kaniva resident, Mr Meyer is always the first to champion what he says is a very special place.
"Everybody knows everybody in Kaniva and it's a place where everyone is treated as an equal," he said.
"There's no one at the top of the pile and no one at the bottom of the pile here."
He expressed pride for Kaniva's farming credentials, which have earned the town the nickname of "Victoria's garden of Eden".
He is also passionate about the town's history. Mr Meyer is known as Kaniva's historian and devotes much of his precious spare time to researching the area's history and his own family history.
He is also actively involved in maintaining a museum and has written four history books, with a fifth in the works.
His family, going back to his grandparents, has been heavily involved in the Kaniva Agricultural and Pastoral Society since its inception.
Like many, Mr Meyer is saddened that this year's show might not go ahead due to COVID-19. This will be only the second time in the show's history it has been cancelled.
Throughout 50 years of involvement, Mr Meyer's roles with the show have included judging poultry, photography and crop sections, along with serving as president and other executive roles. He is now a life member.
Church and sport have also been a big part of his life.
Mr Meyer is also a life member of the Tatiara Cricket Association. He played cricket for more than 30 years and held many positions within that organisation. He now gives the same level of involvement to bowls, and and has been a life member of the Kaniva Bowls Club since 2018.
He has been an elder in the Presbyterian church and has officiated for hundreds of services and funerals.
In 2015, he received a Plaque of the Church from the Kaniva Presbyterian Church.
While honoured to be receiving the OAM, Mr Meyer was quick to pay tribute to his wife Wendy.
"You can't really achieve anything unless you have a very supportive family around you," he said.
"A lot of times I get credit for things that have only happened because Wendy's worked just as hard as me."
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