By Mitchell Clarke
He’s been dubbed as ‘Mr Officer’ but Robert Porter can now add the title of Cardinia Shire Council’s senior citizen of the year to his name.
The community stalwart received the deserved recognition for his remarkable contribution to the Officer community in front of his beloved wife Carol and son’s Geoff and Gavin on Sunday 26 January.
“This means a lot to me. It was a pleasant surprise and a true honour to be nominated,” Mr Porter said.
As chair of the Officer Recreation Reserve for over 40 years, Rob has worked tirelessly to carry out extensive volunteer maintenance on the grounds.
“I had a wonderful time down at the reserve as a child and I’ve watched my children love the place, now we’re watching my grandchildren and hopefully soon it’ll be our great-grandchildren down there,” Mr Porter said.
But his work within the sporting community isn’t his only claim to fame – he’s also the long-term president of the Officer District Community Association, where he’s celebrated significant achievements including the relocation of the Officer Memorial Gates.
Rob’s also played a key role in keeping the Officer Union Church in community hands and was the former chairman of the Officer Primary School council and a volunteer coach for the Officer junior football teams.
In late December, the Gazette reported Mr Porter had decided to pull the plug on his plumbing career at the ripe age of 77-years-old, after more than six decades on the tools.
But retirement won’t slow him down, Rob has vowed to continue serving the community for the pure joy of seeing children having fun.
“I won’t slow down until I have to,” he laughed.
Wife Carol was “thrilled” to be sitting next to her husband of 54 years when he received his most recent award.
“I was very proud of him and I thought to myself, ‘you’re my husband but you really do deserve this’,” she said.
“Robert has worked in a voluntary capacity for his whole life. He’s got an incredible work ethic which has come through to our sons and grandchildren.”
Mrs Porter, who is recently out of hospital following a fall in early December, said she took to Facebook to celebrate her husband’s great achievement.
“I put it on Facebook, even though he said not to,” she laughed.
“It received 320 comments from people of all walks of life and I think he was pretty chuffed to read all the support.”
Mr Porter added: “I was absolutely astounded by the amount of people who congratulated me.”
“I feel a bit embarrassed sometimes by these things but I’m very proud and honoured.”