David Martin OAM has been named Wodonga’s Citizen of the Year for 2022.
David has contributed many years of service to the Wodonga community during his 36 years of service to the disability sector.
He resigned from the Army in 1985 after 21 years’ service, including a posting in Vietnam from 1968-1969.
David was then appointed as Administrator of the Murray Valley Centre on June 20, 1985.
MVC is a day training centre for people with disabilities and provides clients with opportunities to develop skills assisting them to live independently in the community.
David was appointed Chief Executive Officer of MVC in 1998, a position he still occupies.
He is passionate about his role and is currently engaged in developing future directions of MVC brought about through the introduction of the NDIS and the impact of Covid restrictions.
David joined the RSL in 1969 on his return from Vietnam and has served continuously for 50 years.
In 2004, David received life membership of the RSL and in March 2016 was awarded the RSL Meritorious Service Medal, the highest national recognition of service to the RSL.
He has been a member of the Rutherglen RSL Sub Branch since 1985 and is currently engaged in a project to install a statue of a special forces soldier in the Rutherglen Memorial Park.
David received the Order of Australia Medal in the 2012 Australia Day Honours List for his services to the community.
Wodonga Mayor Cr Kev Poulton congratulated David, reflecting on his large contribution and commitment to the local disability sector and the RSL.
“David is a worthy recipient of this prestigious award,” he said.
“He is well known and respected by many members of the community for his work with people with disabilities, the aged, veterans and their families.”
Cr Olga Quilty, who is chair of the Australia Day committee, also congratulated David.
“The Murray Valley Centre is an important asset for our community and there are many great stories that come from those who attend or visit the centre,” she said.
David accepted the award at the Australia Day online ceremony at The Cube this morning.
“I feel both privileged and very humble receiving this award from the City of Wodonga,” he said.
“It is now fifty years since I first arrived in Wodonga as a member of the Army stationed at Bandiana.
“Apart from an absence from 1978 – 1983 I have worked in Wodonga, both in Defence and at Murray Valley Centre up until 2022.
“It has certainly been a pleasure to support the community of Murray Valley Centre for 36 years and being able to assist people with disabilities to participate in community life.
“I also must congratulate the volunteers who assist in the centre’s operations, both as members of the committee of management and helping out at weekly bingo operations.
“To witness the expansion of the City of Wodonga over the years has also been very rewarding and I congratulate the community for its efforts during the restrictions and limitations imposed through the Covid pandemic.”
Wodonga councillors also congratulated Wodonga’s Community Organisation of the Year – 37 Army Cadet Unit.
Australian Army Cadets has been a pivotal youth development organisation in the Albury-Wodonga region for 34 years.
Recruitment sessions take place throughout the year at the Army Logistics Training Centre in South Bandiana.
Thousands of young people aged between 13 and 16 from throughout the region have taken part in the cadet program over the years.
Captain (AAC) Dale Manley said Australian Army Cadets have strong links to the Australian Army and share the same core values.
“These values are the key factors in developing resilient communities and building positive relationships in those communities through increased social participation and community action,” he said.
“37 ACU provides the opportunity for our youth to develop the skills needed to be effective leaders.”
37 ACU volunteer staff and senior cadets work tirelessly each week to keep the youth engaged in the region through online training, chat groups and forums to maintain social connection during what has been a challenging year with COVID-19.