HONOURS AND AWARDS
LONG-SERVING police officer and passionate sporting volunteer Robert Fitzgerald was named Blacktown’s Citizen of the Year yesterday.
Chief Inspector Fitzgerald, from the Blacktown local area command, is also president of Eastern Creek Pioneers Netball Club, and a life member of two soccer clubs and one netball club in the area.
Blacktown Mayor Ste- phen Bali and Australia Day ambassador Kumud Merani presented Chief-Insp Fitzgerald with the honour at the Australia Day awards ceremony.
Chief-Insp Fitzgerald has been a police officer for almost 30 years, continually supports local projects and campaigns, and is a board member of SydWest Multicultural Services.
He congratulated the other nominees and award winners for their work towards building a better com- munity. “I’m most honoured and very humbled as a battler from the west,” he said.
“We hear a lot of bad things at times about the western suburbs, Blacktown, Mt Druitt, Campbelltown and all those sorts of places, but we don’t hear the good stories.
“But you are the good stories, each and every one of you here today.”
Mr Bali said Chief-Insp Fitzgerald was a strong contributor to the local community.
“He goes above and beyond in his current role as chief inspector, with continued support of local community projects and local awareness campaigns,” he said.
“Sporting groups have already recognised him with life memberships and he also is a strong promoter of multiculturalism.”
Young Citizen of the Year went to Harjasleen Oberai, who was honoured for volunteering at organisations such as Global Volunteering Network and the Youth Council of Australia.
The award for Community Event of the Year went to the Festival of Colour, where people paint themselves with bright shades and throw colourful powder into the air to promote and foster equality and tolerance.
Before the Australia Day awards, Blacktown Council held one of Australia’s biggest citizenship ceremonies, with more than 200 taking part.
Blacktown Council’s Citizen of the Year Robert Fitzgerald with the city’s Australia Day ambassador Kumud Merani and Mayor Stephen Bali.