Tributes have flowed for a local legend fighting for his life at Wagga hospital after a sickening nursing home bashing.
Malcolm ‘Mac’ MacGregor OAM, 88, is battling bleeding on the brain after a fellow resident of The Haven aged care facility viciously assaulted him over a missing coffee mug on Saturday.
Mr MacGregor is a pillar of both the Ariah Park and Temora communities and was recognised by the Governor General last year for making an outstanding contribution to Australia.
The former volunteer paramedic and fire-fighter was honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) last Australia Day for service to lawn bowls and the community.
Mr MacGregor’s niece, Alison Mortimer, said the “tough old boot” hadn’t lost his sharp wit despite sporting distressing facial injuries.
“He’s a social butterfly and real community mover and shaker,” Ms Mortimer said.
“He’s had hundreds of visitors at the hospital; every man and his dog is coming through.
“He’s been volunteering in the community for 64 of his 88 years, and has a list of awards as long as his arm.
“One things he always says is how good the nurses at The Haven are to him, and they say ‘no Maccy, you’re good to us’.”
Ms Mortimer thanked medical staff at Wagga hospital for treating his injuries, and helping him stave off a grave case of blood poisoning last January to attend his OAM presentation.
Temora Shire mayor Rick Firman was sick to the stomach after learning of the callous attack and called for swift justice.
“I am sickened and disgusted that anybody could treat somebody so appallingly, especially someone who’s given so much to so many,” Cr Firman said.
Cr Firman was gushing in his praise for Mr MacGregor.
“He’s a straight shooter but has a very kind heart and generous spirit, which is why he means so much to us,” he said.
“He goes about his business in a quiet and dignified way and cares dearly about his community.
“It gives me a warm feeling even reflecting on how much he means to people.”
Mr MacGregor was recognised as Volunteer of the Year by the NSW Centre for Volunteering in 2010 and awarded the Ariah Park and District Citizenship Award in both 2004 and 2010.
He’s been a Temora Lions Club member since 1976 and a member of the Ariah Park Bowling Club since 1955 – where he served as president between 1975 and 1997.
The 69-year-old alleged perpetrator is back at The Haven with a security guard posted at his door, while the other residents have been urged to keep their doors locked.
The Haven CEO Shane McMullen has referred the incident to the health department.