HUMBLED: Bernard Gross will join the list of Order of Australia Medal winners today. Pictures: PAUL CARRACHERFORMER Horsham mayor and tireless community worker Bernard Gross has been given an Order of Australia medal.
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Mr Gross had two stints as Horsham mayor, was a Wimmera Shire councillor from 1985 to 1995 and a Horsham councillor from 1997 to 2012.
He has had more than 65 years of involvement in Wimmera organisations.
Mr Gross was a member of the Green Lake fire brigade from 1961 to 2005 and a committee member of the Horsham Agriculture Society since 1968. He said the award was unexpected.
‘‘I realised that these awards were made throughout Australia, but I’ve always kept busy and never thought much about it,’’ he said.
Mr Gross said his work with local government had been one of his greatest achievements in community work.
‘‘Being close to the community and understanding and working with the community in so many different areas, you’re able to reflect what their thoughts and needs are through council,’’ he said.
Mr Gross praised the community he was involved with for so many years.
‘‘It’s a very solid community and they certainly take pride in where they live and what they do,’’ he said.
‘‘The Wimmera is a very sound community – people certainly work hard to look after their own interests.
‘‘It’s completely different to metropolitan municipalities – we rely very much on each other for company, social activities and looking after each other as citizens.’’
Mr Gross became a member of Lutheran Youth in 1948 and rates his involvement in the organisation as one of his fondest memories.
‘‘I made a lot of friends in that period who have remained really good friends right throughout my life,’’ he said.
‘‘That was a time when I was able to receive a lot of help to gain experience which I used later on and throughout my community work.’’
Mr Gross still farms at Green Lake and has spent his retirement from council catching up on odd jobs.
He said he felt it was important to continue farming while he was involved in public life.
‘‘I feel it’s a real asset to be earning a living in your community while you’re acting in these capacities, because it gives you a deep understanding of what Mr Average Citizen is thinking and experiencing,’’ he said.
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