Local hero, Steve Schaeffer-Steel, killed in hwy crash

FRIEND TO MANY: Steve Schaeffer-Steel was the “Stainless” hero of many from Charleville to the Cooloola Coast.
FRIEND TO MANY: Steve Schaeffer-Steel was the “Stainless” hero of many from Charleville to the Cooloola Coast.

THE man killed in Thursday's Bruce Hwy crash at Kybong was an active Cooloola Coast emergency services and community volunteer, who had also worked as a road safety campaigner.

Tin Can Bay Coast Guard will be flying flags half mast until further notice in honour of former Charleville police officer Steve Schaeffer-Steel.

Coast Guard Commander Colleen Johnson said yesterday Mr Schaeffer-Steel's family had been overwhelmed with expressions of support and shared grief at the loss of the friend and loved one known to most as "Stainless."

Ms Johnson said the Tin Can Bay Coast Guard headquarters at Norman Point would be open house for mourners until further notice.

"If people wish to come down to the foreshore to reflect, grieve or feel closer to his other friends and loved ones, they are welcome," she said.

"The base is open to people who want to leave a card or flowers."

The Coast Guard emergency services liaison officer was also an active volunteer for Sailability, the sailing club which meets every Friday to allow people with mobility disabilities to escape on to the water, where everyone is a sailor and an equal.

Mr Schaeffer-Steel's wife, Di, was believed to remain in a serious to critical condition in Nambour General Hospital after being airlifted from the crash scene.

"He joined QF 17 Coast Guard Tin Can Bay in September 2009 and was coming up for his five-year award," Ms Johnson said.

"He was a very active member of Duty Crew 2 and was very involved with fund

raising with our annual walkathon.

"He recently started educating children on how to be safe on the water.

"About two months ago, he went to Rainbow Beach school with our training officer Ian Sutton.

"He'll be very sadly missed.

"He was a great asset to QF 17, a wonderful crew member and his friends and fellow members will miss him dearly."

Sailability president Sue Nugent said Stainless had been helping Sailability provide wheelies with "freedom on the water'' for five years.

"He was there every Friday from 9am to 1pm and was officer of the day, but Sailability was closed last Friday.

"I don't think anyone felt like turning up for work," Ms Nugent said.

He was also a member of the Tin Can Bay Yacht Club and had been active as a rural firefighter and a member of the State Emergency Service.

"He was a cheeky sod and would always cheer people up with jokes," Ms Nugent said.

"He was very well known and very well liked.

"He always had some stupid joke - the cornier the joke the more he liked it.

"He was very community minded and a great mate," she said.

Anyone wishing to post condolences is asked to send them to PO Box 170, Tin Can Bay.

Gympie Times

Topics:  crash fatality kybong

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