Becoming a paraplegic at the age of 21 has not stopped City of Gosnells councillor Wayne Barrett from being an active community member.
He recently received the long and loyal service award at the WA local government association (WALGA) convention after 12 years as a councillor.
Mr Barrett was elected to the City of Gosnells council in 2003 but has been volunteering within the city for more than 30 years after being prompted by a car accident.
“I was a young bloke when I had a car accident and I became a paraplegic just before I turned 22,” he said.
Mr Barrett said he had grown up being active and he had refused to let his disability change that.
“I was always brought up in a family where you didn’t have TV and all that sort of stuff so you went and did something,” he said.
“You were always busy doing something and there was no way I was going to sit at home and wait for the lord to come and get me.
“I had some very good nursing staff as well as family and friends and at the time I thought well I can’t go out and kick the footy anymore but I can still go out and do something for the community.”
Since then Mr Barrett has volunteered with the Thornlie sports club where he is a life member, chairman of directors and one of seven people recognised for 30 years of lifetime volunteering in WA at the Clubs WA awards of excellence in May.
“It’s good because you meet all these people and it keeps you young too,” he said.
“There’s all these young cricketers, footballers and netballers around you who encourage you to keep active.”
More recently Mr Barrett has been trying to establish a community market at the Thornlie sports club grounds, which he hoped would foster a greater sense of community in his suburb.
As a councillor Mr Barrett has been particularly active in road safety issues and was currently the presiding member on the WALGA roadwise advisory committee in Gosnells.
He was chairman of the city’s disability access inclusion plan reference group and has regularly worked to ensure city events and programs were inclusive and accessible to all.
Mr Barrett was also a council delegate on the Perth airports municipalities group, which was a coalition of 12 local governments representing residents on matters related to aircraft noise and flight paths.
He said while he was happy to have been acknowledged for his long list of achievements he had never sought out recognition.
“I didn’t expect anything out of it because I enjoyed doing it but it’s always nice to be recognised,” he said.
“I didn’t know anything about getting the award beforehand but obviously someone at the council nominated me.”
City of Gosnells mayor Dave Griffiths congratulated Mr Barrett, saying he was not only a valued member of the community but also an important contributor on many local issues.
“This is a well-deserved award for a very community minded man,” he said.