Jetstar Gold Coast Titans fullback Preston Campbell this week capped a stellar season after being presented with the Telstra Ken Stephen Medal at the second annual One Community Awards at Sydney’s Luna Park.
Campbell was honoured for his tireless work with Indigenous communities as he received the NRL’s highest accolade for outstanding service to the game both on and off the field.
Campbell continued his commitment to the community in 2008, making 38 appearances including visits to Coffs Harbour and Lismore for NAIDOC week celebrations.
He also participated in a video conference at Griffith University which enabled him to talk to students at six different regional schools from far western NSW.
Campbell also had a significant impact on a visit to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane earlier this year where he met Patrick Dillon, an Aboriginal man of a similar age who became a paraplegic after a swimming accident.
The pair shared a common goal in wanting to become Aboriginal youth councillors and Campbell later returned for another visit during the season where he presented Dillon with a signed Titans jersey and $1000 donated by the club.
The 31-year-old, who hails from the small NSW town of Tinga, said he was honoured to receive the award and paid special tribute to Indigenous former NRL star David Peachey, who was a previous winner of the Ken Stephen Medal.
“The ‘Peach’ inspired me. To be able to have my name up next his is a real honour,’’ said Campbell.
“It obviously means a lot coming from where I’ve come from. I feel like I’m in a position to change a few things for the better.’’
The honour capped a fruitful season for the NRL veteran, who also claimed the Paul Broughton Medal as the Jetstar Titans’ player of the year in 2008.
“Preston’s work has made a significant difference to Indigenous communities and to the rugby league community as a whole,” said NRL Chief Executive David Gallop.
“He is a wonderful ambassador for our game, as are all the volunteers and officials that we are honouring here tonight.
“Their contribution to the game should never be underestimated and these awards will continue to ensure they know how much we value their efforts for years to come.”