Ian MAYER, of Caringbah South.
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the general division for service to the community through charitable organisations
It was a chance meeting with a young man who had cerebral palsy and seeing the challenges he and his family faced that led Ian Mayer to begin raising money for charity.
For the managing director and owner of the Toyota dealerships at Chatswood and Ryde, it was the start of a long partnership with what was then known as The Spastic Centre, now the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Mr Mayer, 57, of Caringbah South, today received the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the general division for service to the community through charitable organisations.
"I have been with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance for 25 years. I chair an event for them which now raises between $1 million and $1.5 million a year," he said.
"It just came about by accident. I was invited to a golf day and I saw the great work that the Cerebral Palsy Alliance was doing and I thought to myself, 'it can be a pretty difficult life for a person with cerebral palsy and their family', so I decided then and there to give them my support."
The CBD Golf Escape is held each year at the Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort in the Hunter Valley and with Mr Mayer at the helm it has raised a total of $17.5 million for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Mr Mayer also throws his support behind some other charities and causes, including an annual Newington Golf Day to raise funds and awareness for mental health issues, and he raised funds for a man who lost his wife and children in the bushfires that ravaged Victoria in 2009.
Mr Mayer said while he was proud to receive the honour, he was part of a big team behing the CBD Golf Escape and he shared it with them.
"I am proud to have received it but I feel a little bit guilty because there are so many people who support me and work with me on it. It is absolutely a team effort," he said, adding the board, his staff and even customers shared the honour.
"It's an award for everybody who has supported me over the years."
As for his decision to spend more than two decades supporting various charities, he said: "I am fortunate enough in my life that I am in a position to help people.
"I just think if you are in a position to help people you should do it."