Unsung HeroesRevealing the Remarkable in Seemingly Ordinary People
Howard O'Neil was born in Shepparton Victoria and met his wife Sandra, a South Australian, in Albany, where her family moved soon after she was born.
Howard and Sandra were married young and with a family of four small children in their early 20s, they did things tough. Both parents worked hard to ensure that their children would not go without; Howard sometimes held two jobs and he and Sandra got their family involved in and playing multiple sports.
Even when their children grew up, Howard and Sandra did not stop; they have stayed involved with their favourite sports and now support their granddaughter's clubs.
Now aged seventy five, Howard helps out at the Narrogin Racing Club getting the track ready on race days and keeping it in shape during the week. He helps maintain the lawns and gardens at the Croquet Club and his family attests to him being there at least six days a week, either practising or working.
Of her grandfather Katrina says: "When I think of Pop and how he interacts with others, the first word that comes to mind is cheeky! He is a bubbling old soul who is not afraid to make a joke out of any situation. He is upbeat and always smiling, never turns down a chance to converse and never says a bad word about anyone. When it comes to family, he will do absolutely anything to help. He is a lovable man who cares immensely and that extends to horses, for which he has an undeniable passion. He also has a humble but competitive edge when it comes to sport."
Revealing the remarkable in seemly ordinary people
Portrait painted by Graham Smith 2020.
Text compiled by Jan Smith from notes provided with the nomination in 2020.