Top citizens honoured
When Suzy and Jamie Allen lost their eldest daughter, Carrie, to cancer when she was just 12, they did they only thing they knew how — they turned their grief into action, sold their house and built Taranaki Retreat, a space for those facing extreme stress, struggling with mental illness, or having suicidal thoughts.
Last week, the Allens were two of the 12 community members awarded a New Plymouth District Council’s Citizens’ Award, recognising them for their significant contributions to the district. Collectively, this year’s recipients have decades of volunteering experience across a range of sectors, including sport, education, local government, Civil Defence, emergency response and health and wellbeing.
The awards, now in their 39th year, are an annual event inviting nominations from right across the district. This year’s recipients came from Waitara, New Plymouth and Inglewood, all nominated by others from within their own communities.
“One thing we know about our district is that it is filled with volunteers who freely and selflessly give their time and energy to the community,” says mayor Neil Holdom.
“The Citizens’ Awards are a chance for our communities to recognise and acknowledge their own community heroes — the doers; the behind-thescenes people who make things happen. There are many community heroes out there and the recipients of this year’s awards are 12 of our district’s best. I couldn’t be more delighted and proud to recognise such a special group of people from within our community.”
■ Other recipients of the New Plymouth District Citizens’ Awards for 2018 are Lynn Bublitz, Alison Cole, Grant Downes, Faye Dravitzki, Bruce Findlay, Karen Gillum-Green, Jean Hastie, David Leask, Erica Perry and Elise Smith.
Back, Major Michael Fabish, Lynn Bublitz, Grant Downes, mayor Neil Holdom, Bruce Findlay and Staff Sergeant James McArthur. Front row from left: Faye Dravitski, Suzy Allen, Erica Perry, Karen Gillum-Green, Elise Smith and Jean Hastie. Absent: Jamie Allen, Alison Cole and David Leask.