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Mentonian, Daniel Maitland, named Kingston’s Citizen of the Year 2021

Mentonian, firefighter and personal trainer, Daniel Maitland (2010), was recently named Kingston City Council’s ‘Citizen of the Year’ at the 2021 Australia Day ceremony. Daniel uses ‘fitness to fundraise’ and has contributed over $25,000 for causes which are close to his heart. But he says that his work is about much more than donations.

“The most important thing is raising community awareness and support,” Daniel said.

Daniel’s older sister suffered a stroke in 2016 at just 28 years old. “Bec was living a really positive life. She was happy and successful, working in a job she loved as a paramedic. In an instant, her life was tipped upside down and she was thrown into an incredible battle.

“I think that most people understand the physical impacts of stroke, but there is less awareness around the invisible effects on mental and social wellbeing. I wanted to improve the community’s understanding and compassion for these challenges to ultimately help Bec and others who have suffered from a stroke.”

During COVID-19, Daniel organised a 28km charity relay run to raise funds and awareness for the Stroke Foundation, but also to increase a sense of community connection during a difficult time.

“An outdoor run was a great way to feel part of a community through a shared cause, while still practising social distancing. I wanted it to be an inclusive event so we used the concept of a ‘hop-on, hop-off’ fun run so people of all fitness levels could join in.”

Daniel graduated from Mentone Grammar in 2010 and says the values that he learned at school still resonate with him today. “Hard work, resilience and caring for each other. That’s still what gets me out of bed.

“As a kid I always had a lot of energy, but it wasn’t until I joined Mentone Grammar in Year 6 that I was exposed to all of these opportunities to channel it. I absolutely loved sport, but I was also involved in music, public speaking, cadets and a whole range of things. In Year 12, I was given the opportunity to be House Captain of Lionel Large and a School Prefect and I learned so much about leadership and engaging with people in ways that are meaningful to them.”

Daniel went on to study a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science and a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management). While training for professional football at Sandringham Football Club, his coach recognised that Daniel had a powerful ability to build rapport and motivate people. He suggested that Daniel start training his teammates at the facility.

“It started as a volunteer thing. I just liked being able to help my mates. But I began taking on clients outside of my friendship circle and it really took off from there. That’s how I came to start my own business.”

Daniel’s personal training business, Training with Mates (TWM), leverages from his personal experiences and promotes a holistic approach to health with a combination of physical, mental and social wellbeing dimensions. Mentonians, Taylor Ward (2012) and Emile Tait (2018), have also joined Daniel and the TWM team runs fitness programs for Mentone Grammar students and staff.

“The Mentone Grammar community has been a huge network of support and friendship for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”