Some of Stawell's most generous residents have been honoured for their contribution to the town during the Northern Grampians Shire Council's Australia Day awards ceremony on Tuesday evening.
The celebrations at Cato Lake included activities including a petting zoo, face painting and jumping castle all popular with the kids, families and residents who attended.
The council announced a number of award winners throughout the evening for categories such as Local Hero, Young Citizen of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Community Event of the Year, as well as welcoming a new Australian citizen to town.
Stawell resident Kerry Wilson was named the Local Hero for her initiative to launch a number of community programs during the COVID-19 lockdown.
She started 'Carpark Karaoke', where she would sing to residents from the carpark at Eventide Homes and MacPherson Smith Residential Care with line dancers joining the performance.
In her acceptance speech Ms Wilson said she took a great amount of joy in performing to aged care residents and lighting up their day.
"One of our areas that was most affected this year was our residents who were affected during lockdown, not being able to go out and see friends and family or have entertainers come to the homes," she said.
"So I backed the car up to the window, set the speakers up and provided the lyrics to the residents inside and with the help of June and Raie and the senior citizens line-dancers we acted the fool outside the windows.
"But the joy we brought the residents was parallel with what we felt.
"It gave us something to do and after the couple of hours, their mood from when we arrived to when we left was just so different."
The karaoke was so popular it expanded to Stawell Regional Health.
Ms Wilson is also a member of the Horsham Performing Arts Council member and is a founding member of Library Karaoke.
Ms Wilson is also often tasked with singing the National Anthem at civic and community events.
In a rare outcome, the council also announced joint winners of the Citizen of the Year award, with Ian and Margaret Taylor both being recognised for their contributions to Stawell.
Some of Mr Taylor's key responsibilities include publishing the weekly newsletter for Stawell Uniting Chruch, updating the Church's contact directory and maintaining and repairing the watering system for the Memorial Rose Garden.
Mr Taylor also films the weekly church service and assists members of the church to access the videos, especially during the last 12 months.
Mr Taylor was also a serving member in the Callawadda Rural Country Fire Authority Brigade for 43 years and has been a member of Stawell Lions Club International for 29 years.
His wife, Ms Taylor, is equally involved in the community as a church leader with the Stawell Uniting Church which involves supporting people, considering the overall wellbeing of the Church, attending leadership meetings and is involved in leadership of Worship.
The councils' Young Citizen of the Year award was presented to 2020-21 Stawell Rotary president, Taia Hayter, who is the youngest Stawell Rotary president in history.
Ms Hayter has also been involved in the Rotary Youth Exchange program and is the Stawell Freeza group secretary.
The council also presented a Community Event of the Year award to Stawell Regional Health's Y-Zetts Shopping Spree 2020.
The annual local community shopping event took place for the 16th time in November and was still able to raise important funds for Stawell Regional Health despite the challenges of COVID-19.
The Northern Grampians also welcomed one new Australian citizen during the proceedings as Patrick Grimson was officially declared a citizen.
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Murray Emerson said it was impossible to measure the positive impact on our community made by the award recipients.
"Our communities are changed forever by the people who work so hard and are such incredible forces for good in our region," he said.
"I thank and congratulate each and every one for their amazing accomplishments."
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