By Jessica Anstice
The community work of Star News Group editor Garry Howe has been rewarded with a Medal of the Order of Australia.
The citation was for “service to the community of the Cardinia Shire”.
Mr Howe has headed up a committee that organises the Cardinia Casey Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch, which over the past six years has raised $560,000 for men’s health initiatives, principally prostate cancer research and awareness.
The lunch, which each year fills the Cardinia Cultural Centre to capacity, picked up the award as Cardinia Shire Event of the Year in 2018.
He is currently a member of the Together We Can Round Table working to stamp out family violence in the community, having previously participated in the three-year Challenge Family Violence program.
Mr Howe has served on the committees of the Nar Nar Goon Football Club, including one year as chairman; the Pakenham Secondary College school council, including two years in the chair; the Cranbourne Turf Club and the Pakenham Business Group.
He was also a judge of the Cardinia Business Awards for seven years and has written four books – histories of the Nar Nar Goon and Newry football clubs, the Moe Racing Club and the Gippsland District Racing Association.
Mr Howe said he didn’t consider his community contribution as being anything extraordinary.
“We have just always tried to be useful and helpful,” he said.
“When the kids are at school or join a sporting club, you just want to help out where you can. There are thousands of people in that boat.”
Mr Howe said he and wife Gaylene were thrilled with the way they had been welcomed since relocating to Pakenham 20 years ago and were only too happy to give back to the community.
He said the position as editor at Star News Group provided the opportunity to help make a difference in the community, through the likes of the Biggest Blokes Lunch and Together We Can campaign, and continue the legacy of the Thomas family in that regard.
“It’s a real privilege to head up a well-respected community media organisation and it’s a responsibility we take very seriously,” he said.
“We love living in this area and are happy we can help out in our own small way.”
Mr Howe said he was thrilled to be in the company of Ian Thomas, who received an OAM in 2005.
He was grateful to those who considered him worthy of nomination.
“It’s all a bit overwhelming to be honest,” he said.