Athletics coach wins Max Godbee Memorial Sports Award
SPORTS AWARDS: The moment veteran athletics coach Terry West heard his name read out as the Max Godbee Memorial Sports Award recipient he almost fell out of his chair.
Receiving the award for his contribution to sport in the Clarence Valley triggered a flood of emotions for the coach who has dedicated much of his life to bettering those around him.
West, who was joined by wife Marianne, was presented with the award at the 2016 Clarence Valley Sports Awards held at the Grafton District Services Club on Saturday night.
"Winning this award is pretty indescribable actually," West said.
"There are a lot of awards you can get nominated for but there are some awards that are very humbling and I mean that very sincerely.
"A lot of people think of me as just an athletics coach but I like to think of myself as a person who is helping people across all sports as much as I can and it is just very satisfying to see others recognise that."
West, who has an athletics field named after him at Barnier Park, credited his athletes as the driving force behind his dedication and commitment.
Especially his most recent success story, AWD runner Mitch Christiansen who is fastest Australian across 200 metres in his T37 class.
West said Christiansen, who has cerebral palsy, had taught him a few lessons.
"Young Mitch has made me look at someone who lives his life every day," he said.
"It is a privilege to live life every day and it becomes a privilege to coach someone like that.
"With the adversities that he has been through in his life but he still manages to have a smile that big, well why should I ever complain?
"I honestly believe I have grown as a person since knowing him."
Not only a recognised face in the Clarence Valley, West has also volunteered his efforts in several smaller Pacific nations including the Solomon Islands.
The Max Godbee Award was founded in response to the success of the Ernie Muller Award presented to a dedicated member of the Lower Clarence sporting community.
Yamba Breakers Football Club stalwart Anton Sluyters was the recipient of the Ernie Muller Award, recognised for his three decades of dedication to the football club and its junior players.
Sluyters was an apology for the awards, away at a family gathering, but Yamba FC junior president Rod Menzies accepted the award on his behalf.
Menzies dedicated the award on Sluyters' behalf to late son Liam Sluyters, who died at age 26 in late August.