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Huddle trio honoured for services to the community

North Media

31 Jan 2023

Fred Alale AM, Yasseen Musa OAM, and Gary Lee OAM have been recognised in this year’s Australia Day Honours List, for significant service to the multicultural communities of Victoria

Fred Alale AM, Yasseen Musa OAM, and Gary Lee OAM have been recognised in this year’s Australia Day Honours List, for significant service to the multicultural communities of Victoria. 

The Order of Australia is the pre-eminent way Australians recognise the achievements and service of their fellow citizens. Last week, three of North Melbourne Football Club and The Huddle’s most respected volunteers were honoured for their services to the community.

Fred Alale AM, a passionate North Melbourne Football Club member, has over two decades of experience as a public service professional in both Australia and the UK. More recently, he has been a part of the Victorian governments efforts to keep Victorian businesses in line with the Public Health Officer’s regulations.

He has been recognised and awarded with this honour as a result of his enormous contributions to the African Australian communities that reside in Victoria. He serves on multiple boards apart from The Huddle’s Advisory Committee, including Chair of the African Music and Culture Festival, and is the Treasurer of Africa Day Australia Inc. He is also a member of the Victorian African Communities Action Plan implementation committee.

Alongside Fred on the Advisory Comittee of The Huddle and a Committee Member of the African Music and Cultural Festival, is Gary Lee OAM. He was recognised for service to the community through a range or organisations. First arriving in Melbourne as an international student from Malaysia, Lee quickly fell in love with the city, the North Melbourne FC and everything it had to offer.

There are a lot of people in Australia who don’t have much but are willing to give everything to help others, and this Australian spirit is everything I am about.- Gary Lee OAM

Working closely with The Huddle, Lee has worked tirelessly with international students empowering them to learn new skills, grow their network, and form new connections within the community through Welcome to AFL sessions. Gary continued his work throughout the pandemic, even if that meant that Welcome to AFL sessions looked a bit different to what everyone was used to.

Yaseen Musa OAM has been the Multicultural Ambassador for the North Melbourne Football club since 2020. He is a former member of the Multicultural Australian Football League Committee, in which he won the Multicultural Community Ambassador of the Year Award back in 2015.

Arriving in Melbourne over 25 years ago, the father of six was quick to recognise the need to bring hope and a sense of belonging to migrants. Working closely with The Huddle, Yasseen says that sport had played a key role in helping young people learn new skills, meet new people, and provide a new home.

When new families arrive in Melbourne, we need to give them hope and we need to give them a place where they can feel safe which is what our community does.- Yasseen Musa OAM

Musa OAM played a pivotal role in aiding more than 3,000 residents of Melbourne’s public housing towers, who found themselves suddenly in lockdown due to COVID-19. Delivering culturally sensitive food and medicine and aiding nurses, police and government bodies in communicating with local residents, he worked tirelessly to ensure each and every community member was receiving the right care. 

The Huddle’s CEO Cameron McLeod said: “Fred, Gary and Yasseen are all outstanding role models who epitomize the ‘Shinboner Spirit’. Their passion is unwavering as is their dedication to create rich cultural experiences for all Victorians to learn, grow and belong alongside other cultures. Their contributions to The Huddle, as volunteers and cultural leaders has been invaluable. Their Australia Day Honours is a testament to the impacts and benefits of multicultural communities’ contributions to Australia”.

The North Melbourne Football Club and The Huddle would like to extend their congratulations to Fred, Gary and Yasseen for their awards, and acknowledge their selfless work in empowering all young people to continue to learn, grow and belong. 

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