Those who are familiar with the name Alan O’Callaghan, know of a man who has spent much of his life working tirelessly to build strong, inclusive communities without ever losing the smile on his face. Fondly nicknamed “The Mayor of Mooloolah” by locals, Alan spends much of his time at the Mooloolah Community Centre in his role as President, among his other noble commitments to our community. Hopefully by this time next year he will be able to add “Commonwealth Games Batonbearer” to his long list of accomplishments.
We are now less than a year away from the Commonwealth Games and it will be the Batonbearers who carry the spirit of the Games to our shores. The Queen’s baton will travel a remarkable 230,000 kilometre over 388 days, across the entire Commonwealth. In Australia alone 3,800 Batonbearers with help it make the journey. The role of the Batonbearer is a prestigious one with nominees asked to meet important criteria; embracing the diversity and values of the Commonwealth. Batonbearers are expected to exemplify a pillar in their region; someone who has achieved something extraordinary and has made a significant contribution to either sport, education, the arts, culture, charity or within their community. They should inspire others and above all contribute to a fun, friendly, vibrant and inclusive society.
I am certain we have many great nominees on the Sunshine Coast and Alan is absolutely one of them.
Alan was born with Cerebral Palsy and later confined to a wheelchair after a car accident but it was in 1981, the “International Year of the Disabled Person” that his life changed forever. Alan became passionately involved in disability rights, travelling to schools in his wheelchair to speak with students. He attended demonstrations for disabled persons and passionately lobbied for their right to live independently and have better access to services, transport and employment. In his role with the Mooloolah Valley Community Association, Alan has always fought hard for the best interest of the local people and we own him a real debt of gratitude.
Alan, we wish you the best of luck through the nomination process but know that your community is behind you and we could not ask for a better representative for our region.