In Queenslands Sunshine Coast, a school chaplain in a state school has taken out the award “Cititzen of the year for 2016”. His name is David Larkin, and he beat 12 other nominees for the title at a special ceremony held at Lake Kawana Community Centre. David Larkin is school chaplain at Buderim Mountain State School. His award was for “dedication and commitment to working with students on personal development and issues to do with grief, loss and self-esteem”. Listen to his story.
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In Queensland, a school chaplain has taken out the Sunshine Coast’s most prestigious award – Citizen of the Year for 2016. His name is David Larkin, and he beat 12 other nominees for the title at a special ceremony held at Lake Kawana Community Centre.
David Larkin is school chaplain at Buderim Mountain State School. His award was for “dedication and commitment to working with students on personal development and issues to do with grief, loss and self-esteem”. This award comes at a time when the work of school chaplains has been under close scrutiny.
But “Chappy Dave” has personified the value the role can have. He facilitates programs for youths like Seasons for Growth, Drumming Circles and Happy Being Me. His family are involved in foster care and he has developed strong links and networks within the community to improve children’s lives.
For him, it has never been about preaching a religion. He says “We have a practical role and do home visits, providing meals and networking with other community organisations.” “It’s about sharing values, it’s not about me pushing a religious agenda. It’s about serving the needs of the community.”
The number of lives he has affected was highlighted when he was in hospital, desperately fighting for his own life in September, 2014. He had he suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm and was rushed to Brisbane’s Prince Charles Hospital where he underwent seven hours of emergency surgery.
His doctor said if he had arrived 15 minutes later he would not have made it. The Buderim community rallied around David and his family while he spent months undergoing intensive rehabilitation.
He received more than 1000 get well letters from students. He is now in his second year of recovery and can do 5 kilometre runs.
The mayor of the local area gave a tribute to the winners and the 86 nominees for the awards for 2016. He said “They have been nominated and commended by their own communities because of their willingness to go above and beyond and there is no doubt that their efforts are truly commendable.” “They are, in the main, quiet achievers, unsung heroes – people who work tirelessly to help others without thought of reward or recognition.” “These are the people who set a positive example and are great role models for our community.”
David Larkin, the winner, has indeed worked tirelessly to help others. He’s a Christian making a very positive difference in his Sunshine Coast community.