GLASSHOUSE Mountains horseman Max Chapman epitomises the term "local hero".
Max became popular in the community after he took in three former racehorses, which he said would otherwise have "gone to dog meat".
Max, a former New South Wales mounted policeman who retired to the Sunshine Coast with his wife Elaine nearly nine years ago, said it was natural for him to go to such lengths, having grown up with and loved horses all his life.
The horses, Scouldie, Rocky, and the late Mandrake, are loved not only by Max but also by many children in the community whom Max taught to ride.
And as a result of that mutual love of horses, Max has developed a real connection with many in the local community.
Members of the community decided it was time Max received the recognition he deserved.
Colleen Gray and her children Helena, 16, and Georgia, 12, helped start a fundraising campaign to provide Max's horses with shelter.
Bassett Barks managing director Sue Joseph was willing to offer her support.
"Sue rang me one day and said 'I've just seen on the internet that you're trying to raise some money to build a shed'," Max said.
"And she said 'Go over to the shed place in Landsborough, pick out a shed and I'll buy it for you'.
"It was only supposed to be just a shed but they decided that they'd make it stables for me."
Max said he had been overwhelmed and humbled by the support he was shown.
"I really appreciate it, and I appreciate what the kids did for me," he said.
"It just blew me away. It was something I could never do (financially)."
In May last year, Vegan Warriors founder Jaylene Musgrave was so inspired by Max's work that she created the Peace Out Award, of which Max was the inaugural winner.
She said Max deserved the recognition, and she was delighted to have helped with the campaign to raise the much-needed funds.
"I've seen the way he teaches the kids around here to ride, and he spends an absolute fortune looking after these horses," she said.
"But it's not just that.
"It's the absolute, pure love that he has for every one of his horses that really struck a chord with me."
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