LOCAL business owner and proudly patriotic community member Paul Vella said he was a proud Aussie and didn't care who knew it.
"I've had the Australian flag on all my work utes for the past eight years," he said.
Born and bred in Australia, Mr Vella said his family had a mediterrean background.
"I was born in Sydney, and we lived there until we moved up to Gympie when I was 12," he said.
The self-professed one-eyed Ford fan said his time in Gympie and serving across the country in the Royal Australian Air Force helped to instill in him a love for this wide brown land.
"In the air force I learnt respect for my country. We have a unique camaraderie. And here in the country we have the 'gidday mate', 'she'll be right' and 'how ya doin' attitudes," he said.
During his 12 years in the air force, he said he was proud of the work he did.
"Mainly we did peace-keeping. We were preserving the Australian way of life," Mr Vella said.
He believes most ex-military would have a heightened sense of patriotism.
Having travelled overseas extensively since leaving the service, Mr Vella said Australians had a lot to be thankful for.
"We are pretty lucky where we are. Going overseas made me realise we are the lucky country," he said.
Mr Vella plans to celebrate Australia Day with a traditional BBQ and some beach activities with his wife and two children.
"We should enjoy and make the most of what we've got," he said.
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