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For more than 50 years, Robert Devitt has helped thousands of cadets soar in the field of aviation, through volunteering for the Australian Air League (AAL) Cadets.
The 62-year-old Riverwood resident is the 2019 recipient of the Canterbury-Bankstown Citizen of the Year award, for his commitment to the Riverwood Squadron, which he joined in 1967.
Mr Devitt has been instrumental in helping many find their wings.
"Even though I didn’t become a pilot, I’ve helped many other people become one. I’ve had the pleasure of training these young cadets and watch some of them become commercial pilots or continue on to work for the military," he said.
Mr Devitt has helped develop and implement multiple training programs, such as Field and Theory Education; is the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Co-ordinator; has never missed an ANZAC Day or Remembrance Day ceremony, since joining the AAL; and was instrumental in rallying squadron members to secure a hall, after the old was destroyed by fire in 1982.
And, while Mr Devitt has given a tremendous amount of time to the Air League, he’s also been an extraordinary example of what it means to be a good Samaritan, regularly fundraising for the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal; helping Lugarno Lions sell Christmas cakes; is a Scripture teacher with Riverwood Catholic Church; and is an active member of St Vincent de Paul Society.
On top of his work in Canterbury-Bankstown, he assists the community in the Philippines where his daughter lives, serving meals to the poor, teaching local students and assisting those in need.
"It’s a bit hard to put into words being recognised with this award," he said.
"It’s amazing that someone thought to nominate me because there are plenty of other people more worthy than me.
"I thought to myself, why would someone want to give me an award for doing something I love? All I can say is there are so many generous people out there today helping the community and that’s a good thing."
Mayor Asfour praised Mr Devitt for his contribution to the community.
"Robert and all the other nominees are shining examples of how their work continues to change people’s lives for the better," Mayor Asfour said.
27/01/2019 1:32 PM