Gippsland dad Bruce Maya was named 2009 Father of the Year for Victoria after he was nominated by his 10-year-old daughter Lucy.
“I reckon my dad is brave because he fought the Black Saturday bushfires. It burnt our house down. I’m lucky that dad is still here to look after our family. I love my Dad,” Lucy wrote in her nomination.
Lucy nominated her dad through the Warragul Leisure Centre’s YMCA Local Community Father of the Year.
It was the first time a Local Community Father of the Year had been named the Victorian Father of the Year.
The Maya family’s home in Labertouche, near Drouin, was lost in the 2009 Black Saturday fires and Bruce, his wife Narelle, daughter Lucy and son Jack lived on the property in a bus while their home was rebuilt.
Bruce remained strong and continued to help his community.
He helped Drouin Junior Football Club as a committee member, runner and was team manager for his son Jack’s team. He also played cricket and also helped Lucy’s netball team.
Lucy’s teacher at St Ita’s Primary School, Peter McKenna, said: “Lucy and the family have done it tough. Lucy’s dad is her hero.”