Ron Vickress, still volunteering at ninety-seven

Ron Vickress outside the Soldier’s Memorial Hall in Guyra
07th Jun 2023

After serving in the navy in World War II and working as a teacher for more than three decades, 97- year-old Ron Vickress still derives immense satisfaction from volunteering. Ron, who turns 98 in June, is the oldest Crown land manager volunteer in NSW.
The steadfastness and sense of duty he displayed in the navy can be seen in his tenure over the past 10 years as a volunteer on the board that manages Guyra Soldiers Memorial Hall, which is on a Crown reserve, including a stint as president from 2013 to 2018. He was instrumental in gaining funding and making arrangements to replace the roof and refurbish the kitchen of the 102-year-old hall, one of the oldest in Australia.
Mr Vickress said he takes pride in maintaining a vital community asset that is used by a range of community groups as well as annual gatherings on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
“When you maintain a building like the Soldiers Memorial Hall, it’s something substantial you can stand and look at, knowing you can hand it on to the next generation,” Ron said.
“There were a lot of servicemen and women from our area and the hall is essential for them and their families. There are a lot of names of the fallen on the roll outside the hall and they are to be cherished. I want to volunteer as long as I can in memory of those blokes.
“If meetings ever get a bit officious I like to make a lighthearted comment, it relieves the tension and stops the humbug. I enjoy volunteering, I feel I can give something back to my local community.”
Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper said Ron Vickress is an incredible example of how people can continue making a valuable contribution to their community at all ages and stages of life.
 “Mr Vickress is known for his good humour, kindness and wealth of ideas, including making suggestions for how the board that manages Guyra Soldiers Memorial Hall can apply for funding for maintenance and improvements,” Mr Kamper said.
“Well-informed and quick-witted, he is well known for being encouraging and supportive of his fellow volunteers and is a true inspiration to us all.”