Hon­our for our he­roes

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Alicia Per­era

Ex­mouth Vol­un­teer Marine Res­cue deputy com­man­der Ge­orge Sim­mons was one of a host of grass­roots he­roes recog­nised at Aus­tralia Day Award cer­e­monies around the re­gion on Thurs­day. New Aus­tralian cit­i­zens, com­mu­nity events and fire­works were other lo­cal high­lights of the na­tional day.

Lo­cal he­roes and new Aus­tralian cit­i­zens were recog­nised on Aus­tralia Day at cer­e­monies across the City of Kar­ratha and Shires of Ashburton and Ex­mouth.

The City of Kar­ratha ac­knowl­edged its most ded­i­cated res­i­dents at an awards break­fast at the Kar­ratha Leisure­plex.

Vol­un­teer with the State Emer­gency Ser­vice, Pil­bara Wildlife Car­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, Bayn­ton West Can­teen and ju­nior soc­cer Joanne Water­strom-Muller was an­nounced as the cit­i­zen of the year.

She said she was hon­oured to have been se­lected from such a strong group of nom­i­nees.

“I’ve been here for pretty much most of my life, so it’s good giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity,” she said.

“I’m just that type of per­son, like a lot of other peo­ple in the room … they don’t do one thing in town, they do a lot of things, and that’s what brings the com­mu­nity to­gether.”

Ath­lete Ay­den Say­lor was an­nounced as the young cit­i­zen of the year and the Kar­ratha Dampier Lions Club, SAFE Kar­ratha, Stu­art Otto and Dory Black­ney were also win­ners.

The City’s 2016 cit­i­zen John Lally gave a speech thank­ing nom­i­nees for their tire­less con­tri­bu­tions behind the scenes.

“When you see soc­cer go­ing on or foot­ball or tee­ball or events — any­thing that’s hap­pen­ing, behind all of those is an army of peo­ple giv­ing up their time for our com­mu­nity, and that’s some­thing to re­ally cel­e­brate,” he said.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said the na­tional day was an ideal time to ap­pre­ci­ate those peo­ple who con­trib­ute most to their com­mu­ni­ties.

“Aus­tralia Day is a chance for our com­mu­nity to come to­gether and cel­e­brate our coun­try — it is a chance to ap­pre­ci­ate those peo­ple who make it such an in­cred­i­ble place to live, and it is an op­por­tu­nity to re­mind our­selves how lucky we are to call Aus­tralia home,” he said.

“To­day, we join with the rest of the na­tion to recog­nise those grass-root he­roes of our com­mu­nity, those peo­ple who are the first to raise their hands, who give up their weekends, who spend hours or­gan­is­ing and con­tribut­ing ... be­cause they love be­ing part of our com­mu­nity.”

In the Shire of Ashburton, peo­ple cel­e­brated the na­tional day with free bar­be­cues, Aus­tralian mu­sic and plenty of com­mu­nity spirit at pop­u­lar events in Tom Price, Parabur­doo, Onslow and Pan­na­won­ica.

A host of com­mu­nity groups pitched in to make the most of the day and Aussie games in­clud­ing thong-throw­ing, ob­sta­cle cour­ses and thong races pro­vided plenty of en­ter­tain­ment and laughs.

Each town also hosted awards cer­e­monies to ac­knowl­edge the in­di­vid­u­als and groups who con­sis­tently go above and be­yond for their fel­low res­i­dents.

An­nette Wil­son was an­nounced the Tom Price cit­i­zen of the year for her vol­un­teer work with St John Am­bu­lance, Tom Price Emer­gency Ser­vices, and Cadet Corp among oth­ers, and Cor­bann Ma­cale, Sis­ter Mar­garet Cul­hane and Tom Price Youth Sup­port As­so­ci­a­tion were also ac­knowl­edged. In Onslow, Cameron McGurk was awarded cit­i­zen of the year with Dawn McAul­lay, Jake Strat­ford and Onslow Sports Club also re­ceiv­ing awards.

San­dra James was the Parabur­doo cit­i­zen of the year and its Emer­gency Ser­vices Cadets won the ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship award, while in Pan­na­won­ica Stacey Ruther­ford re­ceived the top hon­our and Pan­na­won­ica Swim­ming Club were recog­nised for ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship.

Shire of Ashburton pres­i­dent Kerry White said the Shire was proud to host free and fam­i­lyfriendly Aus­tralia Day events. “We recog­nise it is im­por­tant to cel­e­brate what makes our coun­try such an amaz­ing place to live, which is per­son­i­fied within each of our won­der­ful towns,” she said.

“It is also a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to ac­knowl­edge out­stand­ing res­i­dents who con­trib­ute so richly to our com­mu­ni­ties.”

In Ex­mouth, Ge­orge Sim­mons was pre­sented with the Shire’s cit­i­zen of the year award by act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Keith Wood­ward for his long-term ser­vice vol­un­teer­ing with Ex­mouth Vol­un­teer Marine Res­cue.

“As Deputy Com­man­der,

Ge­orge has been in­volved in hun­dreds of res­cues but he also spends count­less hours on dry land making sure the group is ready when­ever they get a call for help,” Mr Wood­ward said.

“He is al­ways the first per­son to vol­un­teer his time, whether it be to get a boat ser­viced, in­stall and main­tain equip­ment or man the ra­dio. Our com­mu­nity is a bet­ter place as a re­sult of Ge­orge’s years of ser­vice.”

Kyle Preest was awarded youth cit­i­zen of the year for his work with Ex­mouth PCYC and ju­nior sport and the Carols by Starlight com­mit­tee won the ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship gong for their suc­cess­ful an­nual Christ­mas event. Mr Wood­ward thanked all the award re­cip­i­ents for their tire­less work.

“Their ef­forts en­rich our com­mu­nity and sus­tain our lo­cal sport­ing clubs, com­mu­nity groups and emer­gency ser­vices,” he said.

New cit­i­zens were an­other fo­cus of the day, as many used the op­por­tu­nity pre­sented by the na­tional day to take the pledge and of­fi­cially be­come Aus­tralians.

Thirty-six peo­ple were sworn in at a City of Kar­ratha cer­e­mony at the Leisure­plex.

Among those were Kis­han Pathak and his par­ents San­jay and Vaishali, who moved to Aus­tralia from In­dia al­most five years ago.

Mr Pathak said he felt “a mixed bag of emo­tions” at chang­ing his cit­i­zen­ship, sad to leave behind the old but ex­cited for the new.

“My sad­ness is over­come by my joy that I can be part of the land of the fair go,” he said.

Dan­ish-born artist Mette Clifton, who has lived in Aus­tralia for 16 years, in­clud­ing 12 in Kar­ratha, said she liked Aus­tralia be­cause it was “an easy life”.

“I think for me, it was re­ally easy to choose Kar­ratha. The kids are safe here,” she said.

Pic­ture: Shire of Ex­mouth

Pic­ture: LE’s Pho­tog­ra­phy

Chil­dren raise the Aus­tralian, Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der flags at the Tom Price Aus­tralia Day cer­e­mony.

Grant Cu­cel and City of Kar­ratha Cit­i­zen of the Year win­ner Joanne Water­strom-Muller.

Pic­tures: Alicia Per­era

City of Kar­ratha Com­mu­nity Spirit win­ner Stu­art Otto and his wife Michelle.

Pic­ture: LE’s Pho­tog­ra­phy

Shire of Ashburton coun­cil­lor Peter Foster with Tom Price Aus­tralia Day Award win­ners.

New Aus­tralian cit­i­zen Karen Bai­ley with Keira, 3, Elisha, 5, and Michael Bai­ley.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long, cen­tre, and Aus­tralia Day Award win­ners Dee Finch, Kerry Dono­hoe, Wayne Dono­hoe, Joanne Water­strom-Muller, Sue Hedley, Stu­art Otto and Dory Black­ney.

Pic­ture: Shire of Ex­mouth

Shire of Ex­mouth Aus­tralia Day Award win­ners Donna Koontz, Kirra DeJong, Deb Ver­steeg, Jess Dixon, Josh Koontz, Ge­orge Sim­mons and Kyle Preest.

Vaishali, Kis­han and San­jay Pathek be­came Aus­tralian cit­i­zens at a City of Kar­ratha cer­e­mony.

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