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David O’Reilly from Hazelwood North spent nearly three decades serving his nation as a member of the Australian Defence Force.

The father of three says one of the highlights of his 27-year career was attaining the rank of Warrant Officer.

Minister for Veterans Affairs and Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has acknowledged Mr O’Reilly’s service by presenting him with the Australian Defence Force Veteran Lapel Pin.

The pin together with a copy of the Oath and a new look veterans card comprise the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant. The covenant acknowledges the unique nature of military service and the contribution of veterans and their families.

The pin enables veterans to be easily identified when they are not wearing their medals or uniform.

“This pin is a symbol of the nation’s acknowledgement of David’s service in the defence force over almost three decades,” Mr Chester said.

“It is also a symbol of the nation’s gratitude for the sacrifices he has made in the service of the nation.

“Veterans traditionally only get public recognition on commemorative days like Anzac Day. The lapel pin allows those in the community to recognise and thank our veterans without them displaying their medals, much like those who have received a Queen’s Birthday or Australia Day Honour.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to be able to thank David in person for all that he has done over his 27-year career in the army.

“To David and his family, I simply say thank-you for your service.”

Mr O’Reilly served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Pacific and was among the first 12 people to be airlifted into Banda Aceh after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Most recently, he has been working alongside fellow veterans to help with the bushfire clean-up effort around Bruthen.

“That’s the kind of people you’ll find in the Defence Forces: our servicemen and servicewomen are people who want to help people in need and use their skills and knowledge to get things done,” Mr O’Reilly said.

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