LIFE MEMBER: Noel Mallyon and his certificate of RSL life membership.
LIFE MEMBER: Noel Mallyon and his certificate of RSL life membership.

Salute for life service

BEFORE his last meeting Noel Mallyon from the RSL’s Emerald sub-branch was “totally unaware” that he would receive such high recognition.

So it was a surprise when he arrived two weeks ago and was presented with national life membership after 40 years of RSL membership.

“I never joined the RSL to get rewarded or recognised,” Noel said.

“My theory is if you live in the community, you should support the community.”

Noel moved to Emerald in 1955 when “life was a lot slower”.

He was a quartermaster gunner with the Royal Australian Navy in the ‘60s and provided logistics support during the Vietnam War.

Later he served with the Far East Strategic Reserve and spent time at HMAS Tarangau, the naval base at Manus Island.

Noel said his certificate should be split in half and shared with his wife.

“The award isn’t individual,” he said. “I’ve had the support of Margaret for 40 years.”

Margaret Mallyon has coordinated RSL poppy appeals and memorabilia sales throughout the years as a volunteer fundraiser.

Noel was vice president of the RSL Emerald sub-branch for 13 years, before becoming president in 1994.

Secretary Bryan Ottone said Noel worked tirelessly.

“Noel is focused on the welfare of members.

“He is a very worthy recipient of this special award.”

Now the town and the RSL are “totally, totally different” from when Noel arrived.

He remembered proudly his work in 1995 helping to move Emerald’s cenotaph from the front of the railway station to its current location, so that Anzac Day marches could continue unimpeded by traffic.

In 2006, Noel was invited by the former Emerald Shire Council to be on the committee for the Egerton Street Revitalisation project, which resulted in an upgraded cenotaph area.

In that same year he and Margaret jointly received the Australia Day Citizen of the Year award.

Noel hopes the town will continue to prosper, and that young people who have served in more recent world conflicts join the RSL.

“We’re about the welfare of service men and women,” he said.

“I hope we keep growing.”

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