By Danielle Kutchel
This year’s Australia Day Honours list includes three pillars of the Greater Dandenong community, recognised for their contributions to a diverse range of causes.
Former mayor and councillor Frank Holohan, charity president Joe Rechichi and RSL volunteer Leslie Hughes are Greater Dandenong’s newest OAMs.
Mr Holohan received his honour “for service to the community of Dandenong, and to local government“.
Mr Rechichi was awarded “for service to the community through charitable initiatives“.
Mr Hughes received his OAM “for service to veterans, and to the community“.
Mr Holohan served as mayor of Dandenong City Council from 1984-1985 and 1977-1978, and as councillor from1993-1994 and 1973-1990. He is known for his work with the City of Dandenong Housing Co-operative, the Dandenong Sewerage Authority, Dandenong Foster Care Westernport Building, the Dandenong Valley Authority and is a life governor at Dandenong Hospital.
He has also been involved with the Dandenong Cricket Club and Dandenong District Cricket Association, the Dandenong Amateur Basketball Association and Dandenong City Soccer Club.
Mr Hughes is a life member of the Dandenong-Cranbourne Sub-Branch of the RSL and has served as a volunteer for the ANZAC and Poppy Appeals.
At Chestnut Gardens Aged Care, he is currently the volunteer gardener and ran the Anzac and Remembrance Day services.
Mr Hughes is a life member of the HMAS Bataan Veterans Association and was a member of the Volunteer Coast Guard from 1974-1983.
His various community services have previously been recognised with a number of awards including the Volunteer of the Year Award for the Holt Electorate in 2011, and the Australia Day Award for the Holt Electorate in 2010.
Mr Rechichi is well known as the president of the Springvale Benevolent Society, having been at its head since 2002.
He has been the coordinator/facilitator of The Springvale Italian Seniors Club since 1990. Additionally, Mr Rechichi is a member of the Association of Italian Senior Citizen Clubs of Victoria.
In addition, two members of the wider community have been recognised for their service, including to Dandenong-based services.
Norma Seip, known to locals for her work with the City of Greater Dandenong, was awarded an OAM for “service to community health through advocacy and advisory roles“.
Norma Seip was a secretary of the Dandenong Community Advisory Bureau from 2009-2011, and is a former member of the Disability Reference Group, the Community Advisory Panel, the Council Ambassadors Program and the Housing for Disability reference group.
She has also been on the board of Wellsprings for Women, was part of the Human Rights Committee of Wallara Australia, has been a Legatee of South Eastern Legacy since 2009, a core group member at The Open Door and a committee member of the Springvale Benevolent Society.
Jillian Garner was also recognised with an OAM for “significant service to architecture, to professional associations, and to education“.
She has provided pro bono architectural advice and design services for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre community hub in Dandenong since 2019.
For more on our community heroes, turn to page six.
Neither the City of Greater Dandenong nor the City of Casey’s citizens of the year were announced before the Journal went to print. For full coverage see next week’s paper.