An 85-year-old retiree who spends up to 60 hours a week preventing older people from becoming victims of crime and deterring children from turning to crime has been named Western Australia’s Senior of the Year.
Seniors Minister Sue Ellery said Hans Heystraten, who was honoured at the WA Seniors Awards today, embodied the valuable contribution older people make to their local communities.
“Hans has worked tirelessly and passionately for safer neighbourhoods in the Forrestfield area for the past 13 years,” Ms Ellery said.
“He became involved in his local Neighbourhood Watch in 1994 because he wanted to help older people who were feeling unsafe in their homes and on the streets.
“Hans regularly visits seniors in retirement villages, shopping centres and their own homes to discuss how to take responsibility for personal safety.
“He also produced the first junior Neighbourhood Watch newsletter in Forrestfield that contains age-appropriate stories about the consequences of crime in an effort to stop children becoming involved in criminal behaviour.
“Hans writes, designs, prints and delivers the newsletter himself to local primary schools.
“At a time in his life when Hans could deservedly lean on the support of others in his community, he is dedicating his time to making the community a safer place for everybody else.”
Mr Heystraten was chosen from a field of outstanding people throughout the State who were nominated for the WA Seniors Awards. The winners were announced at a ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel this afternoon.
The category winners are:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Award
Winner: Marjorie Hunter of Wyndham
Active Ageing Leadership Award
Winner: Seniors Recreation Council of WA
Business Participation Award
Winner: Judy Brealey of Mandurah
Community Achievement Award
Winner: Hans Heystraten of Forrestfield
Community Participation Award
Winner: Sheila Howard of Bunbury
The Minister said the quality of finalists and winners was testament to the increasing community-mindedness of seniors.
“Our current generation of seniors has had an enormous impact on the development of our State, and the quality of the finalists this year reflects the incredible contribution they make,” Ms Ellery said.
“All these seniors work selflessly for their communities and it is only right that they are recognised for their outstanding work.”
The WA Senior Awards ceremony marked the start of BankWest Seniors Week, which will celebrate older people and their contribution to WA with more than 100 events throughout the State.
BankWest Seniors Week is an initiative of the Department for Communities and is sponsored by BankWest, Have-a-Go News, The Senior, Skywest, 882 6PR, Channel 7, The Sunday Times and the Council on the Ageing WA.
Minister's office - 9213 7150