OAM for Ivan

Ivan Lee OAM at his home in Ocean Grove. 164006

By Justin Flynn

Ivan Lee is well respected in Ocean Grove for his countless hours of volunteer CFA work.
The energetic 83-year-old was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in this year’s Australia Day honours list. Indeed, Ivan Lee OAM has a nice ring to it and his list of achievements in serving the community is lengthy.
“I’ve just had a good life,” he said.
“Margaret and I have enjoyed a terrific life with two great boys and they’ve been my greatest support.”
Born in Wangaratta, the family moved to Myrtleford and then met his wife Margaret before they moved to Nyah West, near Swan Hill on the Murray River. They ran a draper’s business from 1966 to 1983 before packing up and heading to Ocean Grove where they have remained ever since. They have two sons – Robert and Douglas.
Ivan has clocked up 68 years as a CFA volunteer and Margaret 50 years. Ivan still plays lawn bowls for Ocean Grove.
“You sort of think to yourself that you don’t really deserve the honour, but I guess I’ve done a lot with my life and that just happened to include volunteering,” Ivan said.
At 83, Ivan is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s fit and healthy.
“I smoked until I was 69, but had a car accident and punctured a lung and was in hospital for three days,” he said.
“They said to see the surgeon in a fortnight and to not even contemplate having a smoke until after the operation so I didn’t smoke for two weeks. When I got home I went out to the back shed and went to light up and just thought ‘no, see how it goes’ and I haven’t touched one since.”
Apart from a very rare brandy and dry, Ivan doesn’t drink alcohol and remains active with lawn bowls and his CFA volunteer work.
“I’ve had a couple of new hips put in and the knees are wearing out very slowly, but otherwise I’m doing OK,” he said.