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08 May, 2017

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Board Member receives Order of Australia Medal

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Board member and experienced Disability Services Auditor, James Bennett, has received his Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for his services to the blind and low vision community.

He was awarded the medal by His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) 38th Governor of New South Wales during a ceremony at Government House on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Bennett, who also sits on several advisory committees with the National Disability Services, covering Open Employment and Australian Disability Enterprises, was humbled to receive the OAM.

“I enjoy having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people who live with disability and I am honoured to receive this award for something I am so passionate about,” said Mr Bennett.

Mr Bennett was inspired to join the Board of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT after receiving services from the organisation. 

“After losing my sight, I needed to find a way to continue working and to maintain my lifestyle, and Guide Dogs has been the answer,” said Mr Bennett who travels frequently with his Guide Dog Brogan.

“My job requires me to travel across the country at least every second week, if not every week. As my wife can’t come with me, I wouldn’t be able to do this without Brogan to guide me.

“I wanted to give back to the organisation and believe my business experience and knowledge of the disability services sector have enabled me to make a valuable contribution to Board discussions.”

Demand for Guide Dogs is on the rise as vision loss is increasing in the community. Every day, 28 Australians are diagnosed with vision loss that cannot be corrected, including nine who are diagnosed as blind. Currently, only one in four people who need a Guide Dog have one.