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21 June, 2021

Top Camp man gets top honour

Long-time Lions Club member in Toowoomba Noel Saal has received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his service to the community of South East Queensland.

Top Camp resident Noel Saal OAM with his wife since 1953, Joan, who has supported him throughout his Lions career of over 54 years of service to the community.

Mr Saal, who is now aged 91, is a resident of Top Camp these days.

He said he was surprised when he found  out about the honour.

“It is something entirely out of the blue,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have imagined it in my wildest dreams.”

Across more than 50 years in the Lions organisation, Mr Saal held a variety of positions at both club and district level.

He began as a charter member of the Clifton Lions Club in 1967 before becoming its president in 1968-69.

Mr Saal moved to Toowoomba West Lions Club in 1972, where he was Secretary in 1976-1978, 1984-1985, 1993-1994, 1995-1996, 2001-2002, 2003-2004 and 2007-2010, President in 1983-1984 and 2006-2007 and Membership Chairman in 2009-2017.

In Lions District 201Q1, he held the roles of Zone Chairman, Deputy District Governor, District Secretary, Re-Districting Chairman, Lioness Chairman, Leo Clubs Chairman and Deputy District Governor.

In Lions District 201Q3, he held the roles of District Governor, Deputy District Governor, District Secretary and Administration Officer.

In addition to being club President of Clifton, Mr Saal was a charter member in 1967 and the inaugural Vice-President from 1967 to 1968, as well as the Membership Chairman from 1969 to 1970 and Secretary from 1971 to 1972.

His time with the Clifton Lions Club came to an end as he moved to Toowoomba to work in the laboratory for the Department of Main Roads, precursor to the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Since his retirement, in addition to his Lions’ work Noel Saal has taken great interest in researching his family history and has written six books about it.

Honours are not unusual for Mr Saal, as after his more than 50 years of work he has received many signs of recognition.

He has received some of the highest honours that Lions members can receive, including the Melvin Jones Fellowship, which recognises humanitarian work, life membership to Lions International and was 2009-2010 Lion of the Year.

He has attended 53 Lions conventions held locally, nationally and internationally.

Bob Free, a member of the Clifton Lions Club for over fifty years and resident of Felton, contributed to the process of writing the submission that led to Mr Saal being recognised.

Mr Free said a letter was received by the Clifton Lions Club which was then passed on to himself due to his longevity in the organisation.

“I had a fair idea of everything he had done with  Lions,” Mr Free said.

“I joined when Noel was president and I watched what he did.

 “He is a very dedicated man to his service.”

Mr Free said he was thrilled that his friend had been rewarded with such a prestigious award.

“It is a great honour,” Mr Free said.

The Order of Australia recognises Australians who have demonstrated outstanding service or exceptional achievement, with OAM awarded for service worthy of particular recognition.

Mr Saal was one of over 1000 people to receive an award across Australia.

The Governor-General, David Hurley said each reward recipient is unique and their story deserves to be shared widely and celebrated.

“Collectively, they speak to who we are as a nation. 

“There are countless examples of selflessness, commitment and dedication.

“There is diversity and there are examples of exceptional achievement in almost every field imaginable,” His Excellency said.

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