Redland’s 2018 Citizen of the Year Dan Holzapfel, 94, remains perplexed as to why he was even nominated for the Australia Day’s major award, given at the Alexandra Hills Hotel on January 23.
“I’m only an average resident of the district,” he said.
Such is his humility that his friends are the ones who speak for him.
“He’s an achiever. He’s a very reliable person and if he says he’ll do something, he does,” friend Bob Mackie said.
The pair met when Mr Mackie was shire clerk and Mr Holzapfel was a city councillor (1964 to 1974) and then forged strong bonds through 47 years of Rotary membership.
“His most significant project has been the eradication of polio,” Mr Mackie said.
“I saw the suffering when I visited Africa in 2003 and I thought this polio should be stopped,” Mr Holzapfel said.
A pioneer of the area, Mr Holzapfel attended Mount Cotton State School, leaving at age 11 to work on the family’s tomato farm. The family then bought 84 acres at Capalaba where they switched to growing strawberries.
“I was born in the Redlands and have remained here because this is the best area in Australia. But most of all it’s my home. You’ve got to have a home to go to,” he said.
Mr Holzapfel’s philanthropic spirit was praised and noted were his significant donations made to the Redlands Foundation and the Redland Museum.
“He donated $100,000 to the Redland Foundation to build transitional housing for families impacted by domestic violence. He is an inspiration and this is why we have these awards, to honour these people who make such a difference to the community,” Mayor Karen Williams said.
The awards were given in nine categories with SES volunteer Lauren Folster, 20 named as young citizen of the year and Caroline Brough as senior citizen of the year.
Ms Folster said the award meant that she was a “true Australian”.
“This is a huge honour. I feel very proud. It is very important to give back to the community and help people, especially veterans,” she said.
Ms Brough said she and Ms Folster met last year at the RSL retirement village where she was the pastor and Ms Folster the bugler.
Ms Brough established Redlands Food Relief in 2013. In receiving the award, she said she also felt honoured and humble.
“I feel I am representing my community group in receiving this award. This is for all of the volunteers who make things happen,” she said.
This year a new award was added to the list with the reconciliation award going to Yulu-Burri-Ba liaison officer Kenneth Munro.
The community organisation award was received by Joe Gamblin representing myhorizon, with the local hero award going to Cindy Corrie for establishing the Sycamore School for autistic children. The sports award was won by Queensland Firebird Jemma Mi Mi with an honourable mention going to Redlands Softball Association’s Janelle Kronk. The cultural award was given to Melissa Anderson and Patricia (Ricky) Johns took the environment and sustainability award for her work with wildlife rescue.
Cr Williams said the awards were in appreciation of the area’s human resources and it was important to give recognition in their lifetime. A total of 48 nominations were received in nine categories.
“The awards mark the significant input of people whose service to the city is very much valued. The Redlands ranks up there with the best of them and the impact here is more tangible than on a national stage. These people give daily gifts to the community and make this an outstanding place to live,” Cr Williams said.