WITH a “she’s right” outlook and a can-do attitude, nothing seems to be impossible for Beachport resident and community volunteer Mike Coonan.
The well-known Beachport Rivoli Bay Lions and Beachport and District Development Association (BDDA) member has been honoured for his years of continuous voluntary contribution.
The tireless community and voluntary work of Mr Coonan will be acknowledged on January 26 after he was announced Kintore Ward winner of the Wattle Range Council Australia Day Award.
Described as a “saviour” of the Lions club, Mr Coonan assisted in lifting its profile and attracting new members shortly after joining the group.
“Lions numbers were dwindling down, and when I joined there were six members,” he said.
“Jimmy Green thought I needed to join, so I joined and we got the club up to 34 members.
“We were able to complete a lot of projects which was good for the community.”
Through his involvement Mr Coonan has overseen and participated in a number of projects including the purchase of a community bus and reconstructing the club’s new shed.
Mr Coonan was the principle leader of the Beachport Foreshore Beautification Project which involved the removal of unsightly power poles and the under grounding of power cables to businesses in the near vicinity.
Through his vision and the support of the Lions Club, Mr Coonan was able to create the paved foreshore entrance to the jetty with decorative lighting, creative tables made from old jetty trolleys and nearby seating.
Following the loss of the Lions’ shed, Mr Coonan drove negotiations with Wattle Range Council to ensure a new meeting space for the club, but also to provide storage for Beachport’s surf lifesaving club.
“In Lions, someone might come up with an idea and you all get behind him to make it happen,” he said.
“Everyone works together for the community.”
Mr Coonan has served on the service club’s executive in a number of roles, including as president, vice-president and membership chairman.
In recent years, Mr Coonan has taken on the role of the popular doughnut van committee manager.
“Doughnut sales is really our only big fundraiser and all our money comes from the van,” he said.
“There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to get the doughnut van up and running and we’re always ordering, cleaning, changing the oil and things like that.
“We have been able to purchase a cool room, bus and a generator with that money all for the community to use.”
Mr Coonan’s remarkable Lions service saw him recognised by the international foundation late last year, receiving the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award for his dedication and contribution.
“That award was a big suprise,” he said.
“It did bring a tear to my eye because you do not ever do these things for rewards.
“It’s just part of my make-up.”
Originally from Bordertown, Mr Coonan’s strong connection with Beachport began as a child with his family often visiting the coastal town during summer.
Mr Coonan purchased land in Beachport in the 80s and moved to Beachport in 2000 and started his community involvement shortly after.
In 2002, Mr Coonan joined the Kintore Ward Consultative Committee, an advisory group for the Wattle Range Council, and remained there for six years.
Mr Coonan served as president of the defunct Beachport Festival by the Sea, a BDDA fundraiser and popular seaside event.
“We had all kinds of professional artists, workshops and entertainment on the day,” he said.
“There was a procession through the street and it was a great community event.
“We also had a friends of the festival event in different venues which raised a lot of money.”
In addition to his involvement with Lions, Mr Coonan is a team member and sponsor of the Variety Club Car 401 in the South Australian Variety Club Bash.
Mr Coonan assists in raising funds and car maintenance as well as coordinating fundraising events.
While modest in describing his voluntary activities, partner Dianne Roach said Mr Coonan’s community contributions were inspiring.
“I think to Mike, his community work is just part of his being,” Ms Roach said.
“It comes as something that is very important to him and it is a priority,
“It’s very inspiring, especially to his family and his daughters.
“His dedication and commitment has given them something to strive for, which will be like dad.”