Northern Grampians Shire Council congratulates the 2022 recipients of Australia Day Awards announced at official ceremonies held in St Arnaud and Stawell on January 26.
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Cr Tony Driscoll, said Council could not be prouder of its citizens for their contributions.
"Our award recipients this year have made very selfless donations to the community via volunteering and initiatives that have dramatically improved the lives of others via charity, awareness, advocacy and inclusion work," he said.
"The accomplishments of the individuals and groups receiving awards are absolutely staggering considering that much of what they achieved took place during the second year of a pandemic.
"I give my heartfelt thanks to all of the Australia Day Award recipients for their accomplishments; it is absolutely staggering to learn what you have achieved in the second year of a pandemic nonetheless, and our shire is so much the richer for having people who give their all for the betterment of others."
IN OTHER NEWS:
The Stawell, South and Central Wards Local Hero was awarded to Helen Kennedy.
Ms Kennedy is a registered nurse who was nominated for the award due to her outstanding service to the community during the pandemic.
She has spent endless hours at vaccination clinics, designing programs and being the COVID-`19 lead for Stawell.
Ms Kennedy is an active community member who volunteers for Stawell Secondary College, Stawell Rail Trail Committee and Good Night Out Society. She has also been an active fundraiser for Stawell Regional Health, raising in excess of $25,000.
She has also volunteered her time at the Community Op Shop, WAMA and Stawell Agricultural Society.
The 2022 award ceremony saw Charlie Wilson and Sienna Santuccione named Young Citizens of the Year.
Charlie Wilson is a Stawell resident who has advocated for the formation of a group for young people who identify as LGBTIQ+
Charlie has worked with GCH to form a group known as the Rainbow Alliance. Charlie's efforts have provided a safe and supportive meeting space for LGBTIQ+ kids who meet weekly after school.
Charlie's group is supporting five local young people and reviewing requests from 15 additional young people wanting to join the group. These requests are from young citizens aged 13-21 years from as far afield as Hamilton.
Sienna Santuccione is an athlete from Stawell Amateur Athletics Club who decided to partake in a 50km run to raise funds and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis, a condition that her mother has been diagnosed with.
Sienna has raised $7,486 for research and her friends - the "Glitter Angels" - ran and raised a further $13,015 for the cause.
Sienna competed in the senior category of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club in order to challenge herself racing longer distances against more seasoned runners.
She is one of the first of her age to take out a first/second double, in a senior's race with SAAC in the 5km "Kieran Ryan Handicap" and has also competed in the famed Lindsay Kent Memorial Handicap.
In addition to their 50km fundraising challenge, the Glitter Angels also completed the MS Readathon in 2021, with their brothers and a group of friends.
She hopes to give an address at the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Competition in the upcoming year on social justice and equality.
Raie Gale and June Raeburn were named joint winners of the Citizen of the Year award.
The duo have served on the executive committee as president and secretary respectively for Stawell Senior Citizens.
They manage hall bookings, programs and upkeep of the building and spend many hours with event management for Senior Citizens. They have ensured the hall and the group's activities are COVID-19 compliant.
The pair also coordinate the local line dancing program, one leading and the other assisting the class, organising setlists, choreography, teaching new members and running socials.
They have joined local singer Kerry Wilson for Car Park Karaoke events during lockdown for the Macpherson Smith Nursing Home and Eventide Homes.
They donate many hours a week to the St Pats Op Shop and are regular volunteers for Stawell Interchurch Council Welfare.
Stawell Interchurch Welfare was also named Community Event of the Year.
While not strictly a community event, Council is acknowledging the efforts of this community group and their members.
The group is well known to the Stawell and district communities for their selfless and humanitarian contributions. It is entirely volunteer run, and senior in their years with many members well above 60 years of age.
The group is "on call" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in case of emergency welfare situations, and man a welfare centre 3 days a week.
The group has made significant contributions to people in need of assistance over the past few years providing support to many culturally and linguistically diverse households in our region, supplying grocery, accommodation, fuel and pharmacy vouchers and hampers of food and essential supplies.
Northern Grampians also welcomed four brand new Australian citizens during the official proceedings: Naricisa Beniga (Philippines), Veera Kandukuri (India), Janakooreet Muhar (India) and Tsai-Lun Tseng (Taiwan).
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