Mentor the key for OAM

Peter Tanner''s devotion to helping young people earned him an Order of Australia. 181950

By Justin Flynn

“Find a mentor” – that’s the advice Wallington’s Peter Tanner would give to anyone who asks.

Mr Tanner, from Wallington, was awarded an Order of Australia at the recent Queen’s Birthday honours and said the value of a good mentor couldn’t be understated.

“Go and find a mentor – someone who lights the flame and fans it,” he told the Voice.

Mr Tanner and the Reach Foundation helped countless children and young adults for a decade.

Alongside late Melbourne Football Club champion Jim Stynes, he chaired the Reach Foundation and learned a lot about himself.

“Reach empowered young people from all walks of life, not necessarily those from low socio economic backgrounds,” he said.

“They learnt that they had a voice, to use that voice and that they were loved.

“The best job I had at Reach was that I was chief giver of hugs.”

Now 67, Mr Tanner came from a housing commission area of Thomson and went into the navy.

“I had this macho life and then Reach taught me to open up,” he said.

Mr Tanner has given a decade of his life to not-for-profit organisations and now manages a successful recruitment business, Tanner Menzies.

“I’ve been really humbled by the amount of people I haven’t heard from for a long time saying ‘thank you for helping me in my career’,” he said.

“It’s all taught me a lot about my fellow man.”