RSL VICTORIA have bestowed Life Membership on former Merbein RSL Sub Branch president Alan ‘Tom’ Storer in recognition of his outstanding service and contribution to the organisation, after a resolution was past and a request made by the Merbein Sub Branch to head office.
On Tuesday, Mr Storer was presented with his Life Membership certificate at a function at the Merbein RSL, which was attended by club members, friends and family.
Tom, 75, served in South Vietnam in 1967-1968 where he was severely wounded.
He joined the Merbein sub branch in 2002 and became president in 2003, a position he then held for 17 years, stepping down from the presidency in February this year.
Current president Rob Vigar said that Tom injected new life into a branch that was in the doldrums and in decline with the passing of so many World War 2 veterans.
“The RSL rooms were in a bad state of repair. To boost funds for repairs, Tom organised working bees to raise money for the halls restoration, ultimately resulting in an almost total rebuild, from floors to ceiling and roof, with new kitchen and toilet amenities to meet the criteria demanded today to allow the hall to be made available for community functions,” Rob said.
“One of Tom’s significant achievements was to document and acquire photos of every service man and woman who enlisted from or were connected with Merbein.
“These photos range in time from before the Boer War to the present day and line the walls of the building.
“Knowledge of these photos has spread far and wide, resulting in people coming to find details of relatives of the past.
“Tom always led from the front, be it in organising a working bee to help an unfortunate veteran or member of the community, selling badges, or representing Merbein sub branch what ever the occasion.”
Upon receiving his award, a humble Tom thanked all in attendance and said it was a great honour to have been given Life Membership and reflected on his time as president.
“Seventeen years as president was a long time,” he said.
“It has gone so quickly and it has been a wonderful journey at the RSL. The RSL will never go out of me, it’s been a lifetime of some ups and downs in all RSL’s I suppose.
“I appreciate everybody who has been in this RSL and supported us − I didn’t think I’d be still here − but it has been a wonderful ride in my life and I thank you all − each and everyone of you − for being here today.”
Mildura RSL general manager Kim Archibald attended the presentation and spoke of Tom’s achievements.
“I have known Tom for almost 30 years and it hasn’t just been his role as president − he was part of this RSL long before that,” he said.
“To say that Tom is the quiet achiever would be an understatement.
“What he has done to this RSL is just fabulous and the historical value of this room which upholds the memory of all of those people who have served is wonderful.”
The Merbein RSL sub branch will celebrate its Centenary next year and plans to be around for many years to come.
TOP HONOUR FOR MERBEIN VETERAN