LIFE as boys was incredibly tough for Bob Bennett and his brother who at age 8 and 6 respectively were left orphans in tragic circumstances.
But brothers with the help and love of the community grew up to be respected and much-loved members of the community themselves.
“The community really raised us and you never knew whose house you were going to wake up in,” he said, giving credit to the Barker and Wright families for looking after him and his brother Trevor.
“You never expect this kind of thing in life because you just do what you do because you love it and this award to goes to the whole town that gave us a life.”
Trevor Bennett was last year an awarded an OAM for his service to the community and now this year, it is Bob’s turn.
Bob, 67, received an OAM for his service to the community of Narooma through various sporting clubs from the Narooma Devils to the Narooma Golf Club to the Narooma Fishing Club.
Over the years, Bob had many jobs and businesses, including building the Narooma squash courts.
His sporting prowess has been passed in his genes with his son Justin headed to France to compete in world life-saving championships, while his grandchildren are headed to Canada to compete in the world Little Athletics championships.
Bob was named a life member of the Narooma Golf Club in 2011 and has been a member since 1955; he also served as vice-president, director, greens director and magazine editor, and as member, resort and greens committees.
He was president of Narooma Devils Rugby League Football Club for eight years; and a committee member for 13 years; first grade coach for three years; a life member since 1992; and also served as team manager.
Bob was also former president of the Narooma Junior Rugby League Football Club; as well as coach and life member.
On the service front, he was member of the Dalmeny Deviates since the 1980s helping raising money for local groups and clubs and charitable organisations.
He was a foundation member of the Narooma Apex Club from 1974 to the late 1980s.
He was also a member of the fundraising committee for Narooma High School Restoration, and also is a foundation member of the Narooma Blue Fin Spear Fishing Club, the Narooma Fishing Club and the 1st Narooma Scout Group.
Other awards include Eurobodalla Shire Council Citizen of the Year, 1995; Group 16 Rugby League Club Person of the Year, 1993 and 1994; Group 16 Rugby League Outstanding Service Award, 1993.
Bob Bennett Drive, Narooma was dedicated in his honour in 1989; and he received the Narooma Public School Centenary Award in 1989 and the Narooma Town Centenary Award in 1986.