Van der Ploeg wins DWA award
By STRUAN JONES
MOUNT Beauty local Daniel van der Ploeg has won special recognition from Disabled Wintersports Australia (DWA) for his work as a volunteer guide, assisting people with disabilities to experience snow sports.
Van der Ploeg, an allied health assistant at Alpine Health, has been involved in DWA for eight years, working on camps and weekend trips, and this year was named the Simon Lo Schiavo Volunteer of the Year by the organisation.
The award recognises a volunteer who has gone above and beyond expectations, volunteered a large number of days, and stepped up their skills or responsibilities.
DWA chief executive officer Rick Coate said Daniel “has demon- strated all of the traits that we believe emulate the spirit of the award,
“Not only did Daniel participate in an exceptional number of camps throughout the season providing quality guiding, he often put his hand up at the last minute to work on camps and always helps organise equipment,” Mr Coate said.
Special mention was made of Daniel’s obsessive and evangelical attitude to coffee, buying participants coffees in the morning and donuts in the evenings at Falls Creek.
Van der Ploeg said he was taken aback and humbled by the award, and said it could have been awarded to many people in- volved in the organisation.
“Words cannot describe the utter disbelief and honour I feel,” van der Ploeg said.
“It has been an absolute pleasure in helping others ski to the best of their abilities, and that’s been important to me.
“Thank you all for recognising my achievements thus far and I’ll continue to give them as I’ve done the past few years.”
Van der Ploeg comes from a renowned sporting family, and beyond being an accomplished all-rounder on skis, he’s also an impressive mountain bike rider.
DWA was established in 1978 with the aim of promoting and fostering the participation of people with a disability in snow sports, and is largely run by dedicated volunteers such a van der Ploeg.