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Vinnies has served the poor in Queensland for 125 years. Here are their top volunteers

Vincentian Cross: John Forrest receiving the Vincentian Cross from state council president Dennis Innes and vice-president Annette Baker.

THE St Vincent de Paul Society recognised five long-serving Vincentians for their valued contributions at local, state, national and international level at a dinner commemorating 125 years of the organisation in Queensland.

The award winners were John Forrest, Jeremiah McAuliffe, Robert Leach, Ron Sullivan and posthumously Brian Moore, who had all been members of the society ranging from 28 to 54 years.

They were awarded the highest award available – The Vincentian Cross. 

The Vincentian Cross is awarded to members for the highest degree of service to the society and the people it serves, having made significant contribution to the society at a state or national leadership level, involving significant achievements for the benefit of the organisation or others.

Mr Forrest and the late Mr Moore, each served a four-year term as state council president in Queensland as well as several terms of president at local and diocesan council levels, and contributed at a national level.  

Mr Moore was a prolific writer and, as well as articles and booklets to assist members in their service, he contributed regularly to The Catholic Leader.  

Mr Forrest also contributed to the society’s centres of charity at state and national level. 

Religious presence: St Vincent de Paul Society state spiritual advisor Canossian Sister Melissa Dwyer speaking at the dinner.

In 2017, Mr Forrest and Mr Leach represented Australia at the Symposium for FamVin (Vincentian family), an international gathering, which was called to celebrate 400 years of the society globally.

Mr McAuliffe has for many years served in Papua New Guinea establishing the society and supporting the members there. 

He has been a member for 54 years. 

As well as local leadership as a diocesan president, Mr Sullivan’s work has been centred in our overseas development programs at state, national and international level as well as co-ordinating the society’s disaster responses in Queensland since 2011. 

Mr Leach has been a diocesan council president, and served as a vice-president to state council for 10 years. 

He is a co-chair of the state social justice committee and is a contributor to the society’s education services committee in Queensland. 

He has a teaching background and, for more than 10 years, has been writing monthly articles to educate the members on the history of the society as well as developing the skills of Vincentians. 

State council president Dennis Innes and vice-president Annette Baker presented the awards. 

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