In front of a large and appreciative crowd at the Knox Civic Centre, the 2017 Knox Australia Day Award recipients were honoured for their selfless spirit, dedication and leadership in the service of our community.
Official proceedings featured an address by Knox Australia Day Ambassador, Dave Jacka, whose feats as a paralympian, educator, aviator and kayaker have helped inspire disabled and able-bodied people alike to reach their full potential.
Festivities also included a special flag-raising ceremony and an Australian Citizenship ceremony, during which 135 Knox residents from 30 countries will become official citizens of Australia .
As usual the committee had hard choices to make among the outstanding qualities and experience of all the nominees.
The 2017 Knox Australia Day Award recipients are:
Citizen of the Year: Sandra Goodwin
A resident of Ferntree Gully, Sandra was nominated especially for her two decades of leadership of the Rowville Senior Citizens Club and her contribution to the Knox Senior Citizens Annual Festivals. Sandra has also organised sports tournaments and opened up many opportunities for people to enjoy and socialise over sports.
Young Citizen of the Year: Talia Ruighaver
Talia Ruighaver has been nominated in recognition of her fantastic work to fundraise for AMAZE (Autism Victoria), her contributions to the community as part of the Ferntree Gully Rotary Club project as well as her volunteer efforts through her high school, Wantirna College.
In 2015, Talia was awarded the Rotary Junior Community Award which required her to undertake a range of activities in support of community service and spirit. In 2015, she was also awarded an Endeavour Award in honour of her outstanding contribution to our community.
Volunteer of the Year: Sheelagh Howarth
Sheelagh has been nominated in recognition of her outstanding efforts on behalf of the Eastern Raptors Junior Rugby League Club. In addition to being a mother of three as well as a full time Emergency Ward Nurse, Sheelagh is dedicated to supporting the Eastern Raptors Junior Rugby League Club in any way that she can. She has held various positions of seniority within the club including Team Manager. All the roles have required Sheila to dedicate unpaid hours of her time, which she consistently does so with not only passion for the sport of rugby but also passion for supporting the Raptors community which is clearly so close to her heart.
Local Hero: Warwick Smith
Warwick Smith has been nominated in recognition of his continued contribution to Scoresby CFA. As Knox Fire Brigade Group Training Manager, Warwick demonstrates true commitment in ensuring volunteers receive the quality training they need in order to respond effectively in emergency situations. Additionally, Warwick also arranges specialist training for volunteers to cover key areas such as driver training and an introduction to emergency management.
Elder Citizen of the Year: Zita Ragg
Zita Ragg has been nominated in recognition of her volunteer work with a number of community groups and local organisations, in the fifty years that she has been a resident of Knox, especially in the Boronia Ladies Probus Club since 1996. Zita has held various
positions of office within the group and is a valued Board Member of the Municipal Outer Eastern Region of Probus. Zita has also made significant contributions to the non-profit organization TOWN, which promotes healthy weight loss as a member of the Scoresby branch since 1995.
Other nominees with Ferntree Gully connections include Iga Pluta, nominated for her
work in the Polish Club, and Murray Snell. Murray is a regular contributor to Gully News and a key person in the distribution of this paper. He was nominated by the Foothills Community Care for ten years of helping with the weekly free community meal. He is also very active in the Knox Historical Society.