On a night where the accolades were flowing freely, one award stood out at the recent Port Macquarie Business Awards.
Well-known Ironman organising committee chair Mike Reid took to the stage to accept the inaugural Wayne Jackson Outstanding Community Service Award. It was emotional and it was deeply personal.
The chamber instigated the award in honour of long-time treasurer and Ironman competitor and volunteer Wayne Jackson, who was killed after being knocked from his bike in June, 2018.
Mike and Wayne had known each other for almost 20 years with Wayne the couple’s bank manager before becoming a friend and then Ironman sounding board. Mike said Wayne wasn’t so much a go-to person but someone he would speak with if he wanted an honest opinion. And he always got a direct reply. “He was just one of those truly good fellas,” he said.
The decision to name the award in his honour also pointed to the calibre of the man. “It shows the popularity of the man and how well he was acknowledged within this community. Many people came up to me after the presentation of the award and said that this award was the most important award given out on the night. I think that Jacko should be remembered through this award. Over the years you do receive awards or acknowledgements but I really think that this is the most important award I’ve received. This was more personal,” he said.
Mike, who has overcome some significant health issues, says that Port Macquarie should continue to honour and remember its residents in this fashion.
“There are many other people who do great things within this community. I do what I do for fun. But there are many people who work in health or aged care and other areas (who are also deserving of acknowledgement). We are a community that has come together from a variety of backgrounds and we have grown quite rapidly. Any award within your community is valuable.”
The Port Macquarie Ironman event is considered in the top 10 of the 70 races conducted around the world. The race consistently ranks highly for customer satisfaction which covers volunteers, the venue and the organisational structure. Boasting a support network of some 2500 volunteers and 20 race directors, the Port Macquarie event continues to lead the way because of the involvement of the community, particularly schools.
“Port Macquarie hosts a successful event because we have people who want to contribute to their community through volunteering,” Mike said. “We are a tourism town and Ironman makes an enormous difference to this community. I understand that we have our knockers. But I can’t change it other than assure them we will do our best for them.”
Since 2007 Ironman has distributed around $600,000 back to those supporting groups. The current Ironman contract has a further two years to run.
The Wayne Jackson Outstanding Community Service Award is now listed on the annual awards night.