Karl Bowman, 78, became a volunteer within the community by accident but said he loved every aspect of giving his time to help others.
The local man has been praised for his work in educating others through his volunteer position at many organisations including Bundaberg Police as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories project.
The initiative aims to bring the community together by sharing the stories of residents who have done extraordinary things.
Born in 1942 in Greenwich, London, Karl originally studied to be a teacher in the prison service.
He only planned to move to Australia for two years when a position became available, but he knew after nine months he was here to stay.
Karl has shared his educational skills as a technology teacher in New South Whales at Longbay Correctional Complex, Paramatta Correctional Centre and Yasmar Juvenile Justice Centre.
He has worked in maximum and minimum security prisons with men, women and juveniles.
Now, Karl volunteers with Volunteer Marine Rescue as well as Bundaberg Police in their Crime Prevention Unit providing education to the public.
“A lot of people talk about making a better society and I believe actions speak louder than words,” he said.
As part of his passion for bringing a smile to people’s faces, Karl has been piloting his “freedom machine” for 30 years.
The hovercraft enthusiast has been able to provide joy to Camp Quality kids with free rides and has even had his hovercrafts featured in movies.
He said one of the biggest highlights was when he delivered Billy Idol to the NRL grand final concert in Sydney, 2002.
“It gives me purpose and makes me feel useful and youthful,” he said.
“With my hovercraft work I have definitely met some very interesting people.”
Karl loves to pilot hovercrafts and said it reminded him of what life was all about.
“Be grateful for what you’ve got because it’s very easy to take life for granted,” he said.
“You’ve got to get out more, you’ve got to travel and experience life.”
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