THE ONCOLOGY unit at Dubbo Base Hospital (DBH) bears witness to the dedication and passion of Gilgandra man Bryson Luff to his community, who today earned the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
From his humble beginnings on a family farm between Yass and Canberra, the 58-year-old has a long list of achievements behind his award for "the service to the community of Gilgandra".
Mr Luff, a careers adviser at Gilgandra High School, started his 40 years of volunteering while at university at Wagga Wagga.
Mr Luff said moving to Gilgandra opened up many opportunities for him to help out.
"I always thought you should help out in the community you live in," he said.
The biggest achievement during a lifetime's worth of community work was building the oncology unit at DBH.
Mr Luff said his wife had cancer and had travelled with two other Gilgandra women to the then "run-down and disgraceful" unit for treatment.
In 1995, he helped found the Gilgandra and District Cancer Fundraisers group.
Within 18 months of hard work, they raised $365,000.
As their president, he convinced the state government to match their fundraising efforts.
"This great achievement shows you how much a small group of volunteers can do," he said.
Other voluntary duties include being the active blood donor co-ordinator and bus driver for Gilgandra High School, and taking on the vice-presidency at Gilgandra Panthers Rugby League Club. He was recently named a life member of the club.
Mr Luff said he was shocked to receive an OAM.
"It came out of the blue," he said.
"I was absolutely stunned."
Mr Luff encouraged Dubbo residents to go out in the community and volunteer.
"It's a great thing to do... the world won't go around unless we make it go around," he said.
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