IT IS not easy to move a grown man to tears, but that is almost what happened when Frankston stalwart John Davis received the Alex Gillon Award for VFL Volunteer of the Year.
Davis has been part of the furniture at Frankston Park for 37 years, working tirelessly behind the scenes alongside the staff and volunteers to keep the Dolphins ticking away and growing as a VFL club, making him a deserving recipient of the award honouring officials for their service to their club and football.
TIGERS' 'EVERYMAN' RECOGNISED Mark Penaluna handed VFL life membership
As a carpenter, he was involved in the construction of the social club and canteen and development of the changerooms and the Bryan Mace Grandstand, using his skills and organising tradespeople to help develop the club's modern facilities.
He still heads to Skybus Stadium weekly to maintain the facilities and has not missed a home-and-away game for more than 30 years, service that has been honoured by the main dining room in the social club being named after him.
Davis was moved by the news when it was conveyed to him by Frankston CEO Adrian Lloyd.
"It's absolutely gorgeous, I've never been so thrilled … if I was 60 years younger I'd say I was stoked," he said.
"I'm nearly in tears actually … I am so proud (and) I can't thank Adrian and the board enough for nominating me, because to me it is one of the loveliest awards in the VFL that you can win and to win that award has just made my year … my last 37 years actually."
Davis said the most special part of receiving the Alex Gillon Award was the fact one of his heroes as a young boy supporting Port Melbourne is a past winner, alongside the great club people across the competition.
"There are so many volunteers in the VFL and the VFA as it was then, so to win this award is something I never ever dreamt about," he said.
"I can go back to 2012 and there was a guy who won it, (Henry) 'Pug' Tucker from Port Melbourne … Pug and his brother Darcy played for Port Melbourne when I was eight and they were my heroes. We used to follow Port Melbourne on the back of a furniture van and to see Pug Tucker win it in 2012 I'd never been so happy in all my life, because he put in so much time as a player and trainer and so forth.
"I couldn't do it without the help of other volunteers around the club who I'd call on and they'd come and help me, whether it was sweeping down the terraces or building the gaming room years ago and changed it into the Hall of Fame this year."
Congratulations to our own John Davis on winning Alex Gillon Award. You are an outstanding contributor to the club and have been for 37 years and hopefully many more. #DolphinUp #BePartofIt #Legend https://t.co/9O68ErRu1h— Frankston Football Club (@FrankstonFC) October 7, 2021
Davis said the best part of being involved in the VFL for so long were the friends he had made, not only from Frankston but across the competition.
"I came here in 1984 and got on the board and (the club) was only very tiny, but with (Bryan) Macey and the board we've ended up developing what we've got now, which is absolutely brilliant," he said.
"We had meeting after meeting, especially with Ken Gannon, young Ricky Bell and John Hook and it was absolutely lovely to meet those guys – it's probably one of the best times of my life other than being married and having kids and grandkids.
"It's incredible how many lovely people you meet, not just volunteers but the players, committee people, sponsors … Aidan Graham and Annette Graham, Michelle Graham, I just couldn't speak highly enough of them.
"You meet so many lovely people, and training nights you might sit on the terraces and the players come in and they all speak – it’s really lovely to become involved with the supporters, the players and all the people around the club."