When asked where he thinks this drive to help others comes from, Roger says without hesitation, My mother. I’m just following her example. She was very active in the community.

Roger Boness is a stalwart of the community in Mt Evelyn, improving the wellbeing of older and retired RSL members, including being a first-responder in times of need. Last year, he was recognised with the Veteran Community Award in the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards for his work with the veteran community.

I do a lot of hospital visits, and do lots of hands-on work, like putting in wheelchair ramps at people’s houses, cutting down dangerous trees, delivering wood, or taking people shopping. Sometimes I just go and buy morning tea and sit with them, he says.

Roger was conscripted for national service in 1966, and saw active service in Vietnam. Since then, he’s actively worked in his community to help veterans through his involvement with the Mt Evelyn RSL. We’re a traditional subbranch. We consider ourselves an important part of the community. We don’t have any poker machines, so we have to find revenue through other means.

Through the RSL, Roger was also active in building a memorial garden which is on the Warburton trail at Mt Evelyn – Roger says up to 5,000 people attend the dawn service there each year.

Serving others is a theme that runs throughout Roger’s life. He was heavily involved in the union movement, where he went from being a carpenter’s representative to becoming an Australian Workers Union organiser and later working for the Community and Public Sector Union. When asked where he thinks this drive to help others comes from, Roger says without hesitation, My mother. I’m just following her example. She was very active in the community.

His secret to living a good life is to live with purpose. Be organised. You’ve got to have an agenda. Get up in the morning knowing that you’ve got something to do. Stay active, and get out and do it.