Meritorious Service Medal has been awarded to life member Jack Thewlis

Five generations of Jack Thewlis’ family have donned the army uniform and sacrificed blood, sweat and tears for their country.

So it’s no wonder a passion for service runs in Mr Thewlis’ veins.

On Friday, the 85-year-old was thanked for his tireless contributions to Shepparton RSL throughout the years, awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

Mr Thewlis is the first Shepparton life member to receive the award, which is the highest honour in the RSL.

It recognises those who have notched 30 years’ continuous membership and have given more than 25 years of outstanding service.

In this case, Mr Thewlis has gone above and beyond.

A member since 1976, he’s been serving for a whopping 44 years.

But for Mr Thewlis, who served eight years’ national service following the Korean War, joining the RSL and continuing to give back to help other veterans has been a no-brainer.

“I just wanted to carry on and help my forefathers,” he said.

“Plus I loved the friendship. I’ve enjoyed it all, and I’d do it again.”

Before gaming machines were introduced to Victorian clubs and hotels in the early 1990s, Mr Thewlis helped organise fundraising events such as dinner dances, fundraising balls and chook raffles.

He spent 12 years on the Shepparton sub-branch committee, including three years as vice-president before serving as appeals co-ordinator from 1996 to 2008.

He has continued as an appeals volunteer to this day, raising much-needed funds on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day each year.

Mr Thewlis is also a Shepparton RSL Bowls life member and has been an active CFA and Shepparton Legacy member.

But he said this service wouldn’t have been possible without tireless support from his wife of 62 years, Valerie.

“I was always the one that ran him around, dropped him off, picked him up and made sure he was dressed nicely enough to be in public,” she said with a laugh.

“I’m very proud of him, receiving this award. He’s done a very good job and enjoyed every minute of it.”

And Mr Thewlis said he’s not stopping any time soon.

“As long as they let me volunteer, I’ll keep showing up.” 

Story by Charmayne Allison, Shepparton News