At the opening of the park in 2018, the ‘Redland City Bulletin’ newspaper reported:
Redland’s 2018 Citizen of the Year Dan Holzapfel, 94, remains perplexed as to why he was even nominated for the Australia Day’s major award, given at the Alexandra Hills Hotel on January 23.
“I’m only an average resident of the district,” he said.
Such is his humility that his friends are the ones who speak for him.
“He’s an achiever. He’s a very reliable person and if he says he’ll do something, he does,” friend Bob Mackie said.
The pair met when Mr Mackie was shire clerk and Mr Holzapfel was a city councillor (1964 to 1974) and then forged strong bonds through 47 years of Rotary membership.
“His most significant project has been the eradication of polio,” Mr Mackie said.
“I saw the suffering when I visited Africa in 2003 and I thought this polio should be stopped,” Mr Holzapfel said.
A pioneer of the area, Mr Holzapfel attended Mount Cotton State School, leaving at age 11 to work on the family’s tomato farm. The family then bought 84 acres at Capalaba where they switched to growing strawberries.
“I was born in the Redlands and have remained here because this is the best area in Australia. But most of all it’s my home. You’ve got to have a home to go to,” he said.
Mr Holzapfel’s philanthropic spirit was praised and noted were his significant donations made to the Redlands Foundation and the Redland Museum.
“He donated $100,000 to the Redland Foundation to build transitional housing for families impacted by domestic violence. He is an inspiration and this is why we have these awards, to honour these people who make such a difference to the community,” Mayor Karen Williams said.