Humble hero hopes Citizen of Year win inspires others
MARK Beil has been dedicating his life to the community through his work in the emergency services for more than 25 years.
He has volunteered for the SES and is a senior firefighter for the Stuart River Rural Fire Brigade.
His efforts are now being celebrated by the region after he was named South Burnett Citizen of the Year at the Australia Day ceremony at the weekend.
The humble hero of the South Burnett said his work was always a collective effort.
"It was a bit overwhelming and unexpected at first," Mr Beil said.
"There were so many other volunteers who deserved this award.
"We have a lot of people in our community and with the fire services who contribute their time to protecting the region.
"For me personally, I do it for the community, I don't do it for the accolades.
"When I was younger I felt the need to get involved and joined Stuart River (Rural Fire Brigade) in 2002.
Since then, Mr Beil said he had spent many memorable moments with the RFS and had helped during natural disasters and emergency events.
"Every job is always different," he said.
"The best part about it is helping the people in need.
"The amount of skills people bring into the fire services in phenomenal.
"People are from all different backgrounds and bring so much to the table."
The experienced firefighter believed the region dodged a bullet last year in terms of the weather conditions, when compared with other regions.
"Over the years we have had some really bad fire seasons," Mr Beil said.
"This season we have attended some fiery conditions, however, we haven't copped it as bad as some other regions across Australia.
"Looking forward, all we need now is some good rain to help with the fires."
He said there was one thing he hoped to achieve as a result of winning the Citizen of the Year honour.
"We always need more service people," Mr Beil said.
"It takes a special type of person to be a volunteer and do that sort of work.
"There's a role for everyone in the RFS, whether it be working as a support officer or as a firefighter.
"It's a good life skill and you are giving back to the community,
"It's a wonderful family to be involved with."
Mayor Keith Campbell said each of the winners and nominees were deserving of their accolades.
"This is an incentive, a spur on to continue contributing to your community," Cr Campbell said.
"They love doing what they do for their community."
Council CEO Mark Pitt also congratulated each of the recipients.
"Having your name put forward for an award is a great honour and shows great recognition and appreciation from your local community," Mr Pitt said.
"I congratulate our award recipients and sincerely thank both our nominees and our community for their support with this event."
The other nominees for the South Burnett Citizen of the Year were Kathy Duff, Glenda Perry, Michael Armstrong and Richard O'Neil.