The 35-year-old received a Disability Support Award in recognition of his passion for helping people with disabilities participate in the community.
For the past three years, Mr Start has been helping Dylan Green, who has cerebral palsy.
Through Mr Start�s mentoring, Dylan has become a valuable member of the Roleystone-Karragullen Cricket Club, where he helps with scoring and setting up the grounds.
Dylan describes their relationship as �mates with boundaries�, while Mr Start said he acted more as a role model and encourager.
�To me, it�s a job helping people. After a while you don�t see the disability tag. Everyone has got things they are good and not so good at,� Mr Start said.
�Able-bodied people also have their hang-ups but it is much easier for them to hide whatever they are.�
The former coffee shop manager said it was nice to be recognised because most of the time he was in the background helping the person he was supporting.
�The award was a chance to reflect back on what has been accomplished,� Mr Start said.
Dylan�s mother, Tammy, said the cricket club and Mr Start�s mentoring had had a positive effect on her son.
�Through Dave�s hard work, the club is at a point where they have really made Dylan a part of the team. They really see Dylan as a valuable asset to their club, which is just awesome,� she said.
Canning Vale Autism Association employee Dilwinder Brar was also a finalist in the Emerging Leader category.
For more information, visit www.dswa.org.au.