Air Force veteran wins Australia Day award

Ian Dainer (Left) with Hannah Hyatt, Young Citizen of the Year and John Beaumont, Citizen of the Year at the recent Australia Day awards

Squadron Leader Ian Dainer (Rtd), an ex-Air Force officer, Vietnam veteran, and volunteer for several community and Defence organisations has been recoginsed as Senior Citizen of the Year at the Ipswich Australia Day Awards ceremony.

The list of community groups and organisations to which Ian Dainer lends is a long one, but he remains humble and surprised about his new found title as Ipswich Senior Citizen of the Year. “I’m not sure why I won, you tell me!” he joked.

“I don’t even know who was responsible for my nomination, but I suspect it was my local Councillor [Cr David Pahlke].”

Mr Dainer is a Vietnam veteran, touring in both 1970 and 1975. Overall, he has dedicated over 40 years of his life to the Air Force – 26 years of those being permanent and 15 years as a reservist. He served in Vietnam twice, as an air defence guard, before being commissioned as an administrative officer.

Following discharge from the Defence Force, Mr Dainer and his wife Heather set up a small strawberry farm in Willowbank, and they worked for about 18 years until the job was too labor intensive for them.

“When that became too physically demanding for us, you find yourself drifting into voluntary activity,” Mr Dainer said.

The Willowbank native said voluntary work was a natural progression, and it comes as no surprise that the majority of his roles focus around the Defence Force and veteran support groups.

His volunteer roles range from being the National Secretary of the Airfield Defence Association of Australia, Secretary of Club Services Ipswich and Vice President of the Willowbank Area Residents Group to smaller, but still meaningful roles such as volunteering as a Justice of the Peace at Riverlink. He is also a volunteer driver for Legacy Ipswich and he speaks at functions run by the Department of Veterans Affairs men’s health organisation.

When asked why he commits to so many different organisations, Ian Dainer’s answer was simple: “I don’t see it as work, it’s something to do and it keeps me out of the pub,” he joked.

“I’ve got time do a lot of things.

“If I can encourage older people to do some of that voluntary stuff that needs doing, than so be it.

“The best part of volunteering is if you don’t want to go in and do something, you don’t have to. They can’t sack you!”

Ian doesn’t intend slowing down any time soon, as he welcomes the work he does to support others.