Les is top citizen again
TWO years ago to the day the North Burnett community wasn’t blissfully celebrating Australia Day on January 26, but struggling to keep their heads above water.
And during these terrible floods, North Burnett Regional Council acting CEO Les Hotz worked diligently behind the scenes, manning phones non-stop for four days, an act which contributed to him being named Monto Citizen of the Year this Australia Day.
“What this award means to me is recognition, by the council and by the community,” Mr Hotz said.
“And I couldn’t have done it alone; I’m very thankful for the support of (wife) Val and my family and recognise the support of councillors and staff.”
In his acceptance speech, Mr Hotz also touched upon his forced redundancy from the council last year, soon after the floods and 47 years of service.
“It was probably the greatest disappointment of my life when I found out I’d been beaten by a Whiskar,” Mr Hotz said, the pun referring to the council’s current general manager for corporate and community services David Whiskar.
Despite the joke, the subject illustrated how important being a public servant and helping his community is to him.
“(The 2013 floods) was a load to carry to make sure everyone was safe. We had no fatalities, so that was the most important thing, and a measure of the communities resilience and ability to cope in a time of natural disaster,” he said.
Since his conversion to Christianity early on in life, Mr Hotz has worked tirelessly with the Monto Presbyterian Church, particularly with young people. He even won the Citizen of the Year once before in 1984 for his weekly work with the Pathfinders group that ran camps for children.
In January of each year he worked as part of a team that put on Inter School Christian Fellowship camps at Leslie and Somerset Dams that taught about 45 kids water-skiing and Christian study, and he later developed his own camp site at Cania Dam.
“The passion (is from) wanting to share my faith and work with young people,” he said
This year Mr Hotz said he would be continuing with his commitment to the community, as well as spending time with his beloved family.
John Lynn, Jean Wilson, Jessika Brown, The Monto Polocrosse Committee and Judi Baldwin were also nominated for Australia Day Awards.
ALL SMILES: Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney presented Les Hotz with his Citizen of the Year award.