VALUABLE WORK: City of Ipswich Sports awards Volunteer of the Year winner Dane McQueen.
VALUABLE WORK: City of Ipswich Sports awards Volunteer of the Year winner Dane McQueen. Rob Williams

Why City's top volunteer wants to share recognition

AS Ipswich's high quality volunteers service summer sports or prepare for next year's winter seasons, they can be proud of their work.

They deserve recognition and thanks for maintaining Ipswich's fine legacy as the backbone that keeps sport ticking along.

The latest City of Ipswich Sports Award Volunteer of the Year is among those dedicated people, devoting countless hours and energy to helping juniors and providing vital assistance.

Brothers and Ipswich rugby league volunteer Dane McQueen humbly accepted the recent award, eager to acknowledge other volunteers in the wider sporting community for their achievements.

"It was a bit embarrassing to be considered with the other finalists that were there,'' he said, referring to Nev Paulsen (cricket), Robert McLeod (hockey) and Rex Watts (Aussie rules).

"We've got a proud sporting heritage here in Ipswich and I think that goes for our volunteers as well.''

He said that's why functions like the annual City of Ipswich Sports awards are so valuable in recognising contributors.

McQueen, 47, has performed volunteer work at Brothers Leagues Club since 2008, having earlier performed roles like a marshal for Ipswich Little Athletics.

He's just accepted the vice-presidency role with Brothers Juniors, having been club president for the past four years, as part of a six-year term on the committee.

Although it's the rugby league off-season, he's already well advanced in planning for next year.

That includes groundwork for the Ipswich under 16 team, and at Brothers doing jersey stock takes, organising equipment and administrative work.

From sign-on in February, the new 2018 season cranks up.

The former Swifts, Brothers and Ipswich Jets Colts utility back also enjoys his volunteer work as a sports trainer.

That covers everything from junior matches at Brothers and for Rugby League Ipswich and Southeast Queensland to helping out NRL team, the Melbourne Storm, when they play matches in Queensland.

The self-confessed jack of all trades performs whatever the NRL champions require, from dressing room set-up to strapping and sidelines duties.

"That's a fantastic experience to see what goes on behind the scenes,'' McQueen said. "It's fascinating.''

As Brothers head sports trainer at junior level, he oversees the safety of players.

The North Booval resident is a valuable mentor in his multiple roles, arranging professional development and training.

He can often be found helping out the senior club by running water or providing sports trainer services.

His work for Rugby League Ipswich involves work on the governance committee and assisting junior representative teams. That includes being head sports trainer for the QRL teams at state carnivals over the past few years.

His first-aid and work on the sideline came after his third shoulder reconstruction as a player aged 24.

"I just really got a genuine passion for it, so I stepped away from coaching and got into that side of it,'' he said.

At Brothers, he's also helped secure grants for a lighting upgrade, strategic planning and a new shed.

McQueen plays an important role in the Brothers-run Little Leprechaun's program for 3-5 year olds. McQueen has run it multiple times, providing a valuable introduction to footy for youngsters.

"You will struggle to find a more dedicated or passionate volunteer than Dane,'' rugby league supporter Robyn Tyler said.

"He is always the first person to any session or game day.

"He's there at 5am to ensure that all is set up prior to participants' arrival and he is always last to leave.''

But as he reflects on his achievements, McQueen again highlights the value of Ipswich's volunteers.

"You need your volunteers to run your clubs so the kids can participate in sport,'' he said.

"They are an integral part of any sporting association.''

Rewards of volunteering

ASKED why he enjoys his multiple volunteering roles, Dane McQueen answers with humility but pride.

"Just seeing the kids participating is rewarding in itself,'' he said.

"You build friendships out of that and relationships.

"You get gratitude as you see them (kids) grow up, and follow their teams and they get married and stuff like that, and they recognise me.''

Another motivating force is serving Ipswich, often under testing conditions.

"I'm 47 so I'm probably relatively young but I always thrive on the underdog tag,'' McQueen said.

"If we can improve our athletes in Ipswich to stick it to Brisbane or Toowoomba and they go on to represent Queensland or Australia, that's fantastic. Like so many people have done before.''

McQueen is especially impressed with the Ipswich City Council's sporting walls of fame set up at the North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre. The walls showcase outstanding Ipswich regional achievers over the decades.