Soaring to New Heights with the Order of Australia Medal

Vivienne (Viv) Jean Drew

In the inviting Australian skies where eagles soar, Vivienne Jean Drew has been a formidable force, steering the gliding community with purpose and vision.

It is with great pride that we announce in the 2024 Australia Day Honours List, Ms. Drew as a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal in the General Division, a prestigious accolade that shines a light on her extraordinary Service to Gliding.

Vivienne’s passion for outdoors sports, climbing, kayaking, hiking in the region, saw her joining the Gliding Club of Victoria (GCV) in 1989, quickly winning the Leigh Simpson Trophy as the most outstanding trainee.  Her energy and excellence has seen her come full circle, with decades of service as an accomplished instructor, often enjoying cross-country flights and spreading the joy of soaring.

Vivienne’s journey with the sport began not just in the cockpit, but also in the committee rooms of the Victorian Soaring Association, where her strategic prowess saw her ascend to the role of President, a title she held from 2018 to 2022. Her influence further extended to the Gliding Australia, where she served as Vice President, a Board Member and Chair of the Governance and Integrity Committee. Vivienne’s expertise was instrumental in her role as the Benalla Aeropark Liaison Officer, showcasing her versatility and commitment to gliding’s regional growth.

Her leadership of the State Gliding Centre Victoria and the Gliding Club of Victoria, Benalla, has been marked by lasting strategic contributions, including programs that have bolstered participation, especially among women, a testament to her inclusive values. In a sport often dominated by older participants, she has actively encouraged younger and women members to take on volunteer roles and participate in adventurous events.  She has championed mutual support networks and an inclusive, positive safety culture.

Beyond her administrative genius, Vivienne’s dedication has been recognised through numerous awards, including the Bill Iggulden Award in 2022, symbolising her invaluable service to the Australian gliding community.

This award is more than just a symbol of recognition; it acknowledges the significant role of volunteerism and the impact of individuals who devote themselves to their interests. Vivienne is a prime example of such dedication, with her contributions having a lasting influence in the gliding community and motivating others to pursue their aviation goals. From leading programs dedicated to junior aviators and initiatives focused on empowering girls, many have recognized the value of her exceptional volunteer leadership, initiative, energy, resilience, and mentoring.

Congratulations, Vivienne, on this well-earned distinction. May your wings continue to carry you to greater heights.

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