Several Basketball Icons named in 2019 Australia Day honours

Basketball dignitaries have featured in the 2019 Australia Day honours, with five significant contributors to the sport awarded Medals of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Vernon Tessier of Victoria was honoured for his service to basketball. Tessier has served as the President of the Power House Basketball Club since 1976 and has been involved as a player, coach, scorer, referee, administrator and uniform washer. The founder of the Victorian Championship Competition (for People with an Intellectual Disability) back in 1987, Tessier has attended every Friday night of the competition during it's decades-long journey.Eileen Thompson of New South Wales was also presented with an OAM for her service to basketball, having been a local competitions administrator since 1985 at the Manly Warringah Basketball Association. Thompson has been involved in the New South Wales Academy of Sport and previously received Life Membership to the Manly Warringah Basketball Association while the Volunteer of the Year award at the association is named after Eileen and her late husband as a testament to her commitment to the sport. John Gouldson was recognised for his service to both the community of Toowoomba and to the sport of basketball. Heavily involved in his community for decades, Gouldson served as the Toowoomba Mountaineers chairman from 1989-1995 and 2007-2017. He is a former coach and player and received Life Membership to the club in 1978 as well as Life Membership with Basketball Queensland. Gouldson was also honoured with a Merit Award in 2005 from Basketball Queensland, an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and was recognised as the Toowoomba City Council Citizen of the Year in 1999.

John Gouldson was made a life member of the Toowoomb Basketball Association. 10 July 2005. Photo Kevin Farmer. Photo Courtesy of The Chronicle 10 July 2005
New South Welshmen Patrick Connelly of Grafton and Roger West of Glebe were also honoured, partly for their work with Mid-Night Basketball. Connelly was a Founding Committee Member of Mid-Night Basketball which operates through a combination of basketball tournaments and life-skill workshops that help young people develop skills to contribute to the community and improve their individual capacity while West was the Founding Chair of Mid-Night Basketball and served the organisation from 2000-2009. Congratulations to all recipients who have helped develop and grow the sport of basketball around Australia.

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