North Queensland Toyota Cowboys centre and Queensland State of Origin player Justin O’Neill breezes down the footy field with ease.
And the 25-year-old Hughenden product has plenty of fresh wind in his sails after signing on as an ambassador for the Cowboys’ newest community partner.
Children’s charity Little Windmills – whose primary focus is helping seriously sick and injured children from Queensland’s rural and regional areas – has partnered with the Cowboys, with father-to-be and proud “country kid” O’Neill the face of the new alliance.
“After learning about the work Little Windmills do, I’m really excited to be partnering with them and helping promote the great things they do in rural and remote Queensland,” O’Neill said.
“Growing up in a country town like Hughenden, you’re many hundreds of kilometres away from services that people in larger centres take for granted.
“So to know that there’s a group like Little Windmills out there who specialise in lending a hand to children and their families in their hour of need is extremely comforting.”
As an official Cowboys community partner, Little Windmills will work alongside the club to promote its charitable work, a move that excites their CEO Shaun Mackin.
“Our focus is on helping out seriously sick and injured country kids and their families who might need a hand for a variety of different reasons,” Mr Mackin said.
“Forging this partnership with the Cowboys is perfect for us, because the club is the biggest sporting expression – and has the largest reach – in any regional area in the country.
“When you’re talking sport in these regional, rural and remote areas of Queensland, the conversation starts and ends with the Cowboys, and in terms of connecting with the communities in their footprint, nobody does it better.
“Little Windmills is excited by the chance to use that level of recognition to continue the work we’ve been doing.”
Little Windmills partner with social workers at some of Queensland’s major children’s hospitals to help kids in need and the charity funds their philanthropic work through public donations and the Little Windmills Holiday Lottery.
Mr Mackin said the way Little Windmills financially assisted country kids was varied and based on the child’s and family’s needs.
“Every family’s situation is unique and it’s a privilege to be involved at such an intimate and emotional time. We assist with things as diverse as medical expenses, travel, accommodation and even groceries.”
Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner said the Little Windmills partnership was exactly the kind of mutually beneficial relationship the club sought to foster.
“Little Windmills are doing vital, valuable work in their community, and we’re thrilled they’ll be able to use their association with our brand to continue to help out country kids and their families doing it tough,” he said.
Little Windmills will work with the Cowboys on various community initiatives and will have a strong presence during games at 1300SMILES Stadium.
For more information on Little Windmills, visit littlewindmills.com.au.