JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Bill Stefaniak AM is still serving and keen to give back to the community

Australia Day Honours

Bill Stefaniak.

Bill Stefaniak. Photo: Lyn Mills

Bill Stefaniak wears red shorts while playing veterans grade to signal his body isn't up to being tackled any more, but the self-confessed rugby tragic isn't ready to hang up his boots or give up his life creed of giving back to the community.

A former member of the ACT Legislative Assembly, Mr Stefaniak credits his sense of civic duty to his upbringing. His father was a former Polish army officer and prisoner of war who instilled his son with the knowledge that having been born in Canberra meant he'd won the lottery.

''I've always believed you've got duties and responsibilities when you live in a place like Australia - you've won the lottery in life,'' he said. ''It's a great place to live, but with any sort of privilege comes responsibility, and I think you have a duty to put back in to your local community and to do what you can to assist your country, and for reasons like that I joined the Army Reserves.''

The 62-year-old has been honoured with an Australia Day award for significant service to the community through a range of elected, appointed and voluntary roles.

"I was the first Canberra-born member of the assembly - I was a member on and off for 17 years, and I've always been very proud of that. Having been a long-time Canberran, I feel very honoured to be receiving an award for services to my community, and it's been an absolute honour to serve the people of Canberra in a number of capacities.''

Along with his involvement with numerous local charities and sports clubs, including starting the Tuggeranong Junior Rugby Club in 1979, Mr Stefaniak's sense of civic duty stretches outside the boundaries of the ACT. ''A friend started a charity to help the needy in Vietnam, and we just got back from opening our first orphanage over there, which we raised money for,'' he said. ''It has 10 orphans and disabled kids who live in there. But it also has students who want to learn English, I'm very involved in that, and trying to start up more schools in the north and help out where we can.''


Related Coverage

Canberra forestry scientist recognised with OAM

Injecting scientific knowledge into the forestry debate has been a driving force behind the career of Canberra scientist Sadanandan Nambiar.

Robert de Castella the marathon man of good causes

There are few names in Australian athletics more recognisable than Robert de Castella, and he is no stranger to Australia Day honours.

Golden girl Alicia Coutts adds OAM to medal haul

It would be easy for an Olympic gold medallist such as Alicia Coutts to play down the importance of this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but the Canberra swimmer sees them as an important marker on her road to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

A class act by tertiary leader Stephen Parker

On January 26, University of Canberra vice-chancellor Stephen Parker is hosting a party to celebrate 26 years of living in Australia.

Sue Powell, OAM: Still in disbelief at Paralympic achievement

Paralympic Games track cycling gold medallist Sue Powell still can't believe she claimed the ultimate honour her sport has to offer - just five years after suffering a spinal injury.

Jon Stanhope's honour for human rights

Former ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope, who has been recognised for his distinguished service to the community in this year's Australia Day honours, says the nastiness and lack of empathy for asylum seekers needs to be addressed.

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo