Honour on a grand scale
FREO BUSINESSMAN BESTOWED WITH AUSTRALIA DAY AWARD
FROM supplying fish to ships from around the world to being founding director of the Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation Board, Victor Paino has built a life full of accomplishments.
His latest achievement came on Friday when the Fremantle resident was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
“I didn’t know much about these awards but if I can help people, I am only pleased to help,” he said.
“I started working at my father’s fish shop when I was 15 in 1952.
“I met many people from many different nationalities who all had tough lives.
“These people copped abuse from other people and it made me appreciate the life I had.
“I used to drive a truck to Esperance, Bunbury to pick up the fish like snapper and put it on fresh ice and drive it back down to Freo.
“Working around fish – well, it was a smelly job.”
From the start at the fish shop, Mr Paino sold continental food to the Australian Navy and other international ships, where his willingness to work with people from across the world stood him in great stead.
“We had a contract with the Australian Navy to supply frozen food, fish and dried stores,” he said.
“We even supplied food to the HMAS Botanica and from there we started supplying to ships all around the world.
“I have travelled to Japan 45 times, been through England, Scotland, Poland, Greece and Italy – the whole of Europe.
“I built up good relationships with them because we had face-to-face contact and people really appreciated it.”
The businessman is a director at Fremantle Hospital and has continued raising money for research 20 years on.
He was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame in 2002 and is a life member of Australian Ship Suppliers and Services and Association, but he knows his success has been built by the good workers around him.
“I have been surrounded by good people and great staff; they got me to where I am with their knowledge to expand the business,” he said.
“People help me and I want to help them.”
Victor Paino: From fish supplier to founding director of Fremantle Hospital’s foundation board.