'Wasn't expecting it': Gladstone teen apprentice's huge surprise
A GLADSTONE teen who spends his spare time coaching and umpiring hockey players has received the prestigious Col Brown Memorial Award.
Second year apprentice boiler maker Joel Calis said it was an honour to win this year's award.
The 19-year-old works as an apprentice at Walz and said it was a way he had followed in his late dad, Forty Calis' footsteps.
"Dad was a boiler maker, he worked at Walz and he was the manager of Watson Piping - which is now combined into Walz group," Joel said.
"A lot of the guys here worked with dad and they know me because of dad."
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Joel, a Gladstone Hockey Association umpire and coach, said he takes pride in his sporting work.
It's one of the reasons the former Gladstone Technical College student received the prestigious award.
"I wasn't expecting it at all," Joel said.
"I just help out in the community because I enjoy it."
But he's had to take a step back from his coaching and umpiring duties as he recovers from a knee reconstruction.
The sporty teen said he was being "a bit too tricky" while playing touch football, and tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
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The award was presented to Joel this week by Gladstone Area Group Apprentices Limited CEO, Leigh Zimmerlie and Gladstone region mayor, Matt Burnett.
The award honours the late Gladstone mayor, Col Brown whose foresight started GAGAL in 1985.
"Without Mayor Brown's commitment to ensuring apprenticeships were available, thousands of local youth would not have had the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship," Ms Zimmerlie said.
Joel hopes to finish his apprenticeship with Walz, and dreams of one day working in his trade overseas.