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Unassuming local hero named the 2021 John Curtin Medallist

Media release

A devoted philanthropist, volunteer and Rotarian who has changed the lives of children across the globe has been awarded the 2021 John Curtin Medal.

For more than 30 years, Ron Geary has served his community by donating his time, care and personal funds to support fellow Australians and people in need all over the world.

Through his voluntary work with Rotary, Mr Geary has raised money, volunteered and coordinated international efforts including polio vaccination clinics in India, plastic and reconstructive services in Fiji, education and training programs for teachers in Northern Laos, and supported the Rotary peace scholarship program.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne congratulated Mr Geary on his well-deserved recognition following decades dedicated to community service.

“Ron’s community service has been consistent, significant and enduring,” Professor Hayne said.

“Over three decades, Ron has quietly given his time to helping children and important causes all over the globe without fanfare. I am delighted to be able to acknowledge his meaningful contribution by awarding him the John Curtin Medal, in recognition of his alignment to the former Prime Minister’s compassion for all and commitment to community service.”

Mr Geary said he was “very humbled” by the recognition and thanked his wife, Glenys, for her unwavering support, and Curtin University for the tremendous honour.

He shared an anecdote that drove him to help others after visiting India for a polio vaccination clinic where he met a young mother and her baby boy who was suffering from paralysis caused by polio.

“All you saw virtually were big, brown eyes. I gave him the drops, she wrapped the child up and… I went out the back and shed a tear, or three,” Mr Geary said.

“That’s why I got very heavily involved in Rotary and I swore that this is what we were going to do – we were going to make sure we ended polio and it’s our promise to the children of the world to end polio. We are this close, very, very close.”

The John Curtin Medal is named after the Right Honourable John Curtin, the Prime Minister of Australia from 1941 to 1945, who is recognised as one of Australia’s greatest statesmen.

It is awarded annually by the University to recognise individuals or organisations displaying the attributes associated with him – vision, leadership and a commitment to community service.

WATCH HERE: Community Service Champion: Ron Geary – YouTube