THE BAW Baw Shire Council held its annual Australia Day Awards ceremony last Thursday.
Paula Summerfield (below) was announced Baw Baw Citizen of the Year on the night, and Alex Ionascu (above) was awarded the Young Citizen of the Year.
Baw Baw mayor Debbie Brown (right on shots above and below) said Ms Summerfield was awarded the position for her work to help breast cancer patients.
“Paula Summerfield has been making a difference in the lives of women fighting breast cancer for over a decade by making beautiful hand sewn comfort cushions to help them rest and recover,” she said in a speech.
“With the help of over 80 volunteers, Paula makes dozens of comfort cushions to donate to hospitals both in Victoria and interstate.
“To raise enough funds to continue making the cushions, Paula proactively meets with local community groups to seek out donations and also attends weekly markets to sell many hand-sewn treasures made by her volunteers.
“Paula’s volunteer work is effectively a full-time job for her, with the reward being the knowledge that she is helping to make a difference for women who really need some comfort.”
Mr Ionascu was awarded for his action on youth issues in Baw Baw.
“Alex Ionascu is a passionate supporter of youth issues in the Baw Baw Shire community,” she said.
“He actively speaks out about bullying and other youth issues, striving to make the community a better place for all, especially through his involvement with the organisation Headspace.
“Alex has recently helped to organised six events for local young people, including the National Youth Week ‘Lift Off’ event with the YMCA.
“Alex has also been a member of the Youth Action Group with the Centre for Multicultural Youth for a number of years, where he meets with a group of other young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”
Daniel Trollope (above) was awarded an Australia Day Medallion for the important role he played after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
“Daniel Trollope played an integral role in helping his community rebuild after the Black Saturday fires in 2009 and has a long history of driving a number of volunteer-based activities across multiple community groups. As the President of the Labertouche and District Community Centre, Daniel has shown unfailing support for the growth of the community into the future,” Ms Brown said.
Joan O’Meara (above) was recognised for her community and committee work.
“Joan O’Meara is the long-standing Treasurer of both the Narracan Public Hall Committee and the Local Neighbourhood Advisory Group and has worked tirelessly to make her community the best it can be. Joan carries out a multitude of tasks as part of these roles and is a credit to her community,” Ms Brown said.
Daniel Mynard (above) was recognised for his involvement with the Country Fire Authority.
“Daniel Mynard has supported his community for many years through his unwavering dedication to the Country Fire Brigade. Daniel strives to ensure his brigade can effectively respond to any emergency events that occur. This requires him to sacrifice many hours away from his family and place himself at risk to protect the lives and properties of his community,” Ms Brown said.
Community Event of the Year was awarded to the Gardivalia Festival (committee above).
“Gardivalia attracted over six thousand visits to open gardens and events across the region during the 2014 festival, which aims to both showcase the beautiful gardens that grace our region, and promote tourism. It’s a credit to the dynamic committee of volunteers who work throughout the year to plan, promote and deliver the festival,” Ms Brown said.
Rawson resident Colleen Wood (above) was awarded the Community Contribution Environmental Achievement award for her efforts to protect native wildlife.
“Colleen has dedicated the last 20 years to saving sick, injured and orphaned native animals, with a particular focus on our Koala population. Colleen coordinates a large team of volunteers at the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter, a non-profit organisation, which she founded in 1994. As one of only a few wildlife shelters in Victoria that has the capacity to rehabilitate koalas, Colleen’s shelter takes in over 100 koalas each year,” Ms Brown said.
John Cherrett was awarded the Community Contribution Sporting Achievement Award.
“John works tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that one of the Shire’s key sporting facilities – Western Park – is maintained to the highest standards. A true quiet achiever, John volunteers his time on a daily basis to ensure that everything is in order at the grounds for training sessions and games.”
The Warragul Municipal Band (above) performed at the event.
All photos by William PJ Kulich.
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