It will be a poignant moment for former Stawell man Anthony Anyon when he delivers an speech to the community on Anzac Day this Thursday.
Anyon serves in the Royal Australian Navy as a Petty Officer and will bring up 20 years in the defence force next month.
He returned to his hometown for the Easter break and was invited to speak at Stawell's memorial service on Anzac Day.
PO Anyon said he did not expect to be given the opportunity.
"I am very honoured to have been asked to speak on Anzac day," he said.
"I was just going to march and join other veterans which having the chance to do in my hometown would have been special in itself.
"It is a big honour to actually be able to speak in front of those people as well as others from the town on such a special day."
PO Anyon's service has taken him across the country and world over 20 years. He is currently based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra on the south-west coast of NSW.
Serving as an aviation technician, the 39-year-old has done two tours of the Middle East.
"My last deployment was in 2016 and 2017 and I was there for nine months and the time before was 11 years ago for six months," PO Anyon said.
"My career is helicopter oriented so I will eventually go back.
"I have a wife and three kids which makes things difficult but I am enjoying being home now."
I am very honoured to have been asked to speakAnthony Anyon
PO Anyon joined the navy as a 19-year-old, 18 months after finishing at Stawell Secondary College.
"All the guys I went to school with wanted to join the defence force and eventually they convinced me to put my hand up - I haven't looked back since," he said.
"I do miss Stawell and wish I could get back more often."
PO Anyon was last in Stawell in August 2017, when he and other defence force personnel landed a retiring helicopter in the town.
"It was pretty special to come to my hometown with what I do for work," he said.
"We did a school visit as well and all the kids were absolutely rapt."
He said having the chance to be back in Stawell for Anzac Day is something he will long cherish.
"I have never had the opportunity to come back on Anzac Day so I'm really looking forward to it," PO Anyon said.
"Being in the defence force opens your eyes to a lot of that tradition side of things.
"I have done Anzac Days in the Middle East, at sea and at Nowra too so it will be nice to be back in Stawell for this year."
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