Alstonville's Bill Ryan has been recognised in this year's Australia Day awards list with an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) for his services to the United Protestants Association of NSW. The organisation runs 24 retirement villages and 18 hostels across the state, plus they provide foster care services, home care services and a medical referral service in the north of the state.
Bill was president from 1993-2007 and then was elected again in 2010.
"I will finish up in October this year," he said. "I've really enjoyed working with a Christian organisation that is proactive and doing good work for a lot of people."
Bill said there had been massive changes to the aged-care sector in the time that he has been involved.
"We have seen astronomical growth. It's like a balloon that's going to burst, it's gone up so fast...We have an ageing population and higher consumer expectations when people come into care. We're not just providing a bed, the clinical care has to be there now," he said.
Bill said UPA had facilities from the Tweed down to Albury/Wodonga and that they tended to set up in smaller, regional areas.
"We try to support those people (in small centres) so they don't have to move out of the area," he said.
Bill said he was proud of UPA's record for quality service and of the staff and volunteers working with them.
"We have some very dedicated people; some of the best staff going and very few leave organisation," he said.
The regional manager of UPA, Ken Maslen, said he was thrilled to learn Bill had been honoured with an OAM.
"Bill joined the UPA in 1982 because of his strong desire to carry out voluntary work in the aged/youth care sector... Bill is a very humble yet highly respected man who leads by example and applies the values of compassion, respect, integrity and kindness in his everyday life and dealings. This has enabled him to fulfil his desire to serve some of the most vulnerable in our society," Ken said.
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