One copper and his community beat

By Fraser Walker-Pearce

SERGEANT Adam Woods has been named the 2019 Frank and Carmel Eyre award recipient, given to an officer who has gone above and beyond for their community.

The announcement was made at the third annual Sportsman Luncheon at the Border Inn in Moama by XLI Club president Ray Thompson and Blue Ribbon Foundation chairman David Mann.

Hard-hitting sportsmen of their time, Australian Basketball Hall of Famer Ray Borner OAM and Essendon footy champion Ken Fraser shared stories at the luncheon; and Herald Sun crime journalist and author Keith Moor completed the trifecta of guest speakers.

The afternoon was MC’d by media personalities Ian Coutts and Ian Cover.

The event also raised funds – through ticket sales and raffle tickets – for the emergency department and short stay unit at Echuca Regional Health.

Woods’ achievements with Bendigo’s at-risk and youth offenders were what tipped the scales in his favour for the judging panel.

In introducing the winner, Mr Thompson said Sgt Woods had ‘‘most definitely’’ gone above and beyond the normal line of duty in his unique way of dealing with family violence and by teaching youth boxing.

Sgt Woods said he was humbled to have received the award in front of such a prestigious crowd.

‘‘It’s something over the past few years we’ve been putting together, John Dalton and I through the Blue Light foundation (youth crime prevention),’’ he said.

‘‘It was something we thought needed to be reinvigorated. (Dalton) got the boxing classes up and going.

‘‘But to us it’s more about the youth engagement than anything, and it’s sort of a replacement to the old police youth citizen clubs some will remember in the 80s.’’

The club has been going from strength to strength in recent times — growing from an initial eight to 10 members, to nearly 50 in a short space of time.

‘‘The kids don’t really care where one another come from, whether that be an underprivileged background or not,’’ Sgt Woods said.

‘‘Some are now at the stage where they are actually at competition level — which is just fantastic.’’

One particular success story stood out to Sgt Woods, who said one young boy was on a community corrections order and constantly in trouble with police.

Sgt Woods said part of the boy’s CCO was to clean the boxing gym, and after a while he became involved with the lessons.

‘‘He’s now at a competition level and I’d wager he’s doing particularly well in the ring too.

‘‘And he’s not in trouble with us any more — to my knowledge anyway,’’ he laughed.