TRAFALGAR community members Ray James and Sarah Hartnell have been announced Baw Baw’s Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year.
Video: Young Citizen of the Year Sarah Hartnell (00:10) and Citizen of the Year Ray James (02:05) interviewed by The Warragul Citizen. Important: This video has an HD option. To change the video quality click on the cog that appears in the bottom-right of the video screen when you mouse over the video.
Mr James and Ms Hartnell were presented with their awards during Australia Day celebrations at the West Gippsland Arts Centre this morning.
Mr James received the award for his work with the Trafalgar/Thorpdale RSL sub-branch, which he re-established and has been President of for six terms.
Mr James told The Warragul Citizen he was surprised but proud to receive the award.
“I didn’t expect it, I didn’t think I had the qualities really for such a prestigious award but no doubt those people that nominated me thought I did… so I’m extremely proud,” Mr James said.
In his speech Mr James expressed the RSL’s desire that the Trafalgar Cenotaph be moved from the highway to RSL grounds.
Baw Baw Shire Council Mayor Murray Cook said in a media release the branch would not exist without Mr James.
“Prior to his tenure as President community participation had declined considerably, Cr Cook said.
Ray James (left) and Sarah Hartnell (right) with their awards. Centre: Murray Cook.All photos by William Kulich. Click for larger versions.
“Through Ray’s sheer determination, the sub-branch is up and running again and is being utilised by the whole community.“In a total voluntary capacity Ray often puts in three to four days per week at the RSL, and if he isn’t there he is often running around organizing events.”
Young Citizen of the Year
Ms Hartnell received the Young Citizen of the Year award for her work as a community leader in Trafalgar.
While still being at school Ms Hartnell has been heavily involved in Youth Foundations Trafalgar – an organisation which supports youth projects and activities.
Ms Hartnell told The Warragul Citizen young people should become involved in community groups and projects that interest them.
“If you’re vaguely interested in doing something in the community just get in there and do it – it’s so much fun and it’s so rewarding and the people you meet on the way are so fantastic,” Ms Hartnell said.
“I’d really encourage anybody who’s interested in whatever they’re doing just to go for it.”
Lynn Wells with her medallion.
Cr Cook said Ms Hartnell has been a crucial member of the organisation.
“As a leader of the Youth Foundations project she runs local meetings and has attended planning forums on the redevelopment of the program,” Cr Cook said.
“Sarah has been crucial in the recruitment of other young people to serve on the committee.”
Australia Day Medallions
Australia Day Medallions were awarded to Lynn Wells, Diane Jackson and Robin Sefton.
Ms Wells received the medallion for her 19 years keeping West Gippsland Community Radio 3BBR FM running.
Ms Jackson was awarded for her 25 years of service with the Drouin Girl Guides.
Ms Sefton, who was unable to attend the ceremony, was recognised for her decade of service with Trafalgar community paper Traf News.
The Community Event of the Year award went to the Yarragon Railway Centenary Celebrations, the committee of which put in approximately 3,000 working hours to make happen.
Citizenship candidates at the ceremony.
The Community Contribution Award was presented to The Crossing Drop in Centre for services to those in hardship.
Ten new Australians completed the citizenship process at the ceremony.
Each person was presented with a certificate and a welcome package which included a native plant seedling.