Steve Eaton from Beerwah will will be presented a AOM on Australia Day. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Steve Eaton from Beerwah will will be presented a AOM on Australia Day. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

Steve awarded for his dedication

COAST man Steve Eaton has dedicated the last eight years of his life to keeping the memory of deceased veterans alive.

His volunteer service was acknowledged yesterday when he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia as part of the Australia Day honours list.

Since 2007, Mr Eaton has served as volunteer co-ordinator of Queensland RSL's Community Link program.

The program allows family members to represent an Australian or Allied service veteran who has passed away - no matter where or when they served or when they died.

"What the RSL wants to do is make sure the memory of that person is preserved and their service is not forgotten," Mr Eaton said.

"I see the joy and satisfaction families get from that and that's really rewarding."

Community Link also has a school program that enables students to research and represent people from their local area who died during the course of their war service.

"To date, more than 3300 Sunshine Coast secondary school students have participated in my World War 1 research projects as a compulsory part of their modern history curriculum," Mr Eaton said.

In 2014, Mr Eaton wrote two special First World War school research projects for the Anzac Centenary - one based on Queensland-born Indigenous soldiers and the other on members of the Australian Army Nursing Service.

He said he was taken aback when he received a letter from Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, informing him of his award.

"It is a privilege to serve and a great honour to receive the award," he said.

"If it draws some more attention to these projects, that's great."

Mr Eaton was called up for National Service in 1970 and served with 12th Field Regiment of the Royal Australian Artillery in Vietnam in 1971.

He first joined the Bribie Island RSL Sub Branch in 1983, where he served as membership officer, memorabilia officer and schools liaison officer.

He also served a term as RSL Community Link chairman.

In 2001 he moved with his wife Robyn to Kureelpa and later the couple settled in Maleny, where he was an active member of Maleny RSL Sub Branch.

The couple recently moved to Beerwah, where they are building a house.