Sports award for big-hearted man
ALPHA'S outgoing police sergeant Jim Kelly was recognised for his 17 years of tireless effort in community sports at Australia Day celebrations in the western Queensland town last Thursday.
In April Jim will officially enter into retirement following a 35-year police career that originally led him and wife Ailsa, along with their three children, to Alpha in 1995.
"Alpha's been home for 17 years. We'll definitely miss the great friends we've made here," Jim said yesterday.
"But I'm looking forward to something different. It will be a big change. I've been a policeman since 1977."
Jim and his family will head towards the coast in coming months, and they are looking forward to starting the next chapter of their lives.
A large hole will be left in the community where both Jim and Ailsa once stood.
Upon arrival in Alpha, Jim became involved in the local Alpha Brumbies Rugby League side. He was the coach and bus driver, and his involvement in the club is regarded by many as the driving force for its survival.
This involvement saw him become a respected "fatherly figure", according to other locals, and friend to younger team members, often providing support, advice and guidance.
Legend has it that Jim even returned to the playing field at the age of 42 when playing numbers were a bit short.
"He scored a try and received legendary status with the Brumbies," Barcaldine councillor Russ Glindemann said.
"Jim has also had a strong involvement in the Alpha Golf Club, being president for four years.
"Jim Kelly is a big man with a big heart. He is a role model to many and a worthy recipient of the 2012 Sports Award for the Alpha Jericho area. Congratulations Jim."
Jim said his wife Ailsa's involvement in community sports was as committed as anyone else's, including his, and he recognised her unwavering support.