by Yasmine Phillips
IT’S not just Greg Hire’s commanding stature that is inspiring a generation of youngsters to look up to him.
The 201cm-tall Perth Wildcat is credited with saving at least two young lives and touching the lives of many others by taking at-risk children under his wing in a mentoring role.
Hire is one of three finalists in the Inspiration category of The Sunday Times’ Pride of Australia awards, which will be presented on Saturday.
Hire said it was “extremely humbling” to be recognised in such a “special category”.
“You can never measure someone’s life and for these people to maybe now have a different outlook on life, just by reaching out to them, is beyond measurable,” he said.
Through his work with Youth Focus, which aims to combat youth suicide, Hire has gone above and beyond for needy teenagers.
One family said they could not thank him enough for “stepping into my daughter’s life and constantly being that reassurance that everything is OK”.
Another teenager said he had saved her life, describing him as a “great friend who always contacts me to make sure I’m OK and I’m very, very thankful for that”.
But Hire said he was simply returning the favour after benefiting from helpful advice and a loving family growing up.
“I just enjoy helping other people out,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to receive some advice and some support growing up and now I’m in a position where I can do so as well.”
One family said the dedicated mentor even checked up on them when he was away on his recent honeymoon.
On Saturday, 10 extraordinary West Australians will be recognised in 10 different categories at the Pride of Australia ceremony, which is celebrating its 10th year.