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From 'little cadet' to AM


Several Catholics have been honoured for community service, including Lyn Dansie of Marion who was awarded an AM in the Queen's Birthday honours.

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Lyn Dansie was “stunned” when she received a letter saying she had received an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

“My goodness I couldn’t believe it,” she told The Southern Cross last month.

“It’s just amazing.”

One of only 14 South Australians to receive an AM, Lyn, 71, was recognised for her long association with St John’s which she joined as a cadet at the age of 11. She rose through the ranks to chief officer for Cadets Australia in 1993. Her involvement in the organisation included development of new training programs and materials, running cadet camps for thousands of young people and conducting first aid courses.

Lyn also was recognised for her active involvement in St Ann’s Catholic parish where she is a reader, commentator and Eucharist minister. Previously Lyn was involved in the altar society at Christ the King Church in the Brighton parish and she was a teacher’s aide and secretary/bursar at Christ the King School for 13 years before working in the library at her alma mater – St Mary’s College – for 19 years.

Lyn retired in 2007 but has continued her involvement in St John’s through the community care program, providing companionship and support to vulnerable people living independently at home. She and her husband Keith are members of the St John’s Historical Society and volunteer at the Society’s museum at Unley. They also are members of the St John’s Welfare Group in SA.

The announcement of her AM on the Queen’s Birthday holiday capped off a big weekend for the Dansie family as Keith was made a Knight of the Order of St John in a ceremony at Government House on the Friday night.

Lyn said she joined St John’s as a “little cadet” 60 years ago, following in the footsteps of her father John Berry who was a cadet officer at Thebarton.

“I have been very lucky to work in so many areas and being involved in such a diverse range of activities and challenges,” she said.

Another South Australian Catholic to be recognised in this year’s Queen’s Honours was John D’Souza from Mt Gambier who was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). John migrated to Australia from India in 1974 and within days he joined the local branch of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

He was made president during his first meeting and held the position for nearly 15 years, before taking on regional leadership roles. In 2004 he was elected State president of the Society but continued his involvement at a local level.

Currently John is the Society’s South-East regional president and a member of the Overseas Partnership and Development Committee.

He has been a member of the Mt Gambier parish for 35 years and chaired the parish pastoral council from 1987-88.

Naracoorte Lucindale mayor Erika Vickery was recognised with an OAM for service to local government and to the community of Naracoorte.

A parishioner at St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, she conducts a ‘reflections’ service at Longridge Retirement Village and has a long list of associations with community organisations.

Kevin Rucioch was awarded an OAM for service to the Victor Harbor community. He is manager of the Victor Harbor/Goolwa parish and has been president of the local Vinnies conference for seven years.


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