The recipients for 2023 are:
- Citizen of the Year: Ricky Baldwin
- Senior Citizen of the Year: Noel Addicoat
- Volunteer of the Year: John Draffin
- Sustainability Leadership Award: Rowan Jennion
The award recipients were recognised for the generosity, passion, dedication and significant contribution they have made to the local community.
Knox Mayor, Councillor Marcia Timmers-Leitch said the awards honoured amazing, everyday people who had gone above and beyond to make a positive impact in Knox. ‘We pay tribute to our award recipients and celebrate their outstanding contributions and achievements,’ she said.
‘Our award recipients don’t seek recognition. The value that Council places on their selfless and tireless work and volunteering for others is so high. They’re passionate and willing to give their time to make Knox a great place. They are the heart and soul of our community.’
Citizen of the Year: Ricky Baldwin
Ricky Baldwin received a number of nominations for his commitment and service to the local community. Ricky is the founder of Victoria’s first Indigenous basketball academy, Koorie Academy.
Ricky is the driving force behind the Koorie Academy for basketball. The Academy is a non-profit organisation that delivers programs that engage with and empower young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through basketball and cultural activities, whilst enabling them to learn about their own culture and identity.
Ricky’s commitment to the Knox community is multifaceted. He supports the community through donations to people in need. He is a board director with Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, ensuring that health and wellbeing is at the front and centre of cultural identity and connection to land and culture for young people. He creates cultural artefacts and objects that he donates to assist with fundraising. Ricky also works with the National Basketball League (NBL) to support the Indigenous round and is working to improve the inclusion of cultural protocols and safety into the NBL.
It is this commitment that resulted in Ricky being awarded the 2019 Australian Indigenous Excellence Commitment to Community Award. He was also shortlisted for the Australian of the Year in 2020 and was inducted into The Knox Raiders Hall of Fame.
One nominator concluded by stating that Ricky is selfless, inspiring and dedicated to giving Indigenous youth every opportunity to be the best version of themselves and to be proud of their culture and community. He provides hope and support to Indigenous youth who might otherwise struggle and uses basketball to help them gain confidence. He bridges the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities by holding events that brings them together in a fun learning environment.
Senior Citizen of the Year: Noel Addicoat
Noel Addicoat has been nominated by Geoffrey Browning for his dedication to the community through his volunteer work with the Meals on Wheels service.
The Meals on Wheels service provides meals for people who have difficulty preparing or shopping for food, or where a person needs additional support to access nutritious food.
Noel has been a keen volunteer with the service for 19 years. He always has a smile on his face and is willing to help fellow Meals on Wheels volunteers with his expertise and experience. Noel and the other volunteers with the Meals on Wheel service provide a meaningful connection with the community members they deliver meals to, allowing them to age well and continue to live independently within their own homes.
Noel’s dedication has seen him continue to deliver meals, providing not just a healthy meal but a much-needed social interaction to isolated residents in Knox.
Noel is committed and passionate about caring for vulnerable members of our community. His long-term volunteer support and dedication to the Knox community, through the Meals on Wheels service make him a worthy recipient of the Knox Senior Citizen of the Year award for 2023.
Volunteer of the Year: John Draffin
John Draffin was nominated by Tashena Perry from the Knox TAC L2P Program for his volunteer work with learner drivers. The TAC L2P Program is a learner driver mentor program that assists learners under 21 years of age, without access to a supervising driver or vehicle, to gain the 120 hours of driving experience required to apply for a probationary drivers licence.
John has selflessly given of his time to support six young learner drivers to reach the required hours of driving experience over the five years that he has volunteered with the Knox TAC L2P Program.
When he started with the Program, John attended a comprehensive driver training program and completed all the checks and paperwork to become a volunteer. Since then, he has made a weekly commitment to support young learner drivers. This commitment has often seen John out in the evening or early in the morning, allowing the learner drivers he has mentored to gain driving experience in all types of conditions.
Not only has he helped young learners to reach the required 120 hours of driving experience, he also loves sharing his knowledge of cars with the learners.
John makes himself available seven days a week to support learner drivers and has also supported young mums too, to become safe drivers and pass their drive tests. John has shown a commitment to road safety and role models safe driving behaviours, making John a worthy recipient of the Knox Volunteer of the Year Award.
Sustainability Leadership Award: Rowan Jennion
Rowan Jennion has been nominated by Richard Faragher and Anthony Bigelow for his volunteer work in supporting the environment with the Friends of Koolunga Native Reserve, where he is the current President.
Rowan is passionate about environmental conservation. He recently secured funding for a nest box project within Koolunga Native Reserve. These boxes have since gone up throughout the reserve and to other areas in Knox. Since this success, Rowan has been looking at a way of getting nest boxes into more places in Knox using natural materials such as Eucalypt logs. He has come up with a design that can be made with tools and equipment found around the home and is currently producing a video to explain the process to interested community members.
Rowan is an active contributor to fauna/flora within the iNaturalist database for Knox, where he has recorded over 500 species to date. Rowan has also secured funding for pollution testing of water passing through Koolunga’s creek. He has also enlisted volunteers to undertake DNA testing of a number of local waterways to test for the possible presence of species such as the Platypus.
Rowan is deserving of this recognition as he is a caring and passionate individual who is very concerned about the health of our local biodiversity. Rowan is always looking for new ways to help his reserve and to make the environment of Knox better and gives freely of his time. His affable nature and good sense of humour makes him an excellent role model for his group and for the environmental movement.