The positive and powerful actions of residents have been recognised as part of the Shellharbour City Citizen of the Year Awards 2017 at the Australia Day ceremony.
Shellharbour City Conference of St Vincent De Paul Society president, Anna Leschnik has won the Citizen of the Year Award for her acts of compassion and improvements to quality of assistance provided to those in need.
Mrs Leschnik is considered a notable leader to the volunteer organisation who shows respect and understanding to others. She implemented a system to enhance the quality of food provided to those experiencing hardship.
“It is a privilege to name a person of such a charitable and considerate nature who is devoted to improving the wellbeing of the community as our Citizen of the Year,” said Mayor Marianne Saliba.
“Mrs Leschnik shows outstanding leadership and innovation skills that is a tribute to the charity she represents,” Cr Saliba said.
Piper Rye has been announced as Young Citizen of the Year 2017, for her leadership and initiative.
Miss Rye is a member of her school’s Student Representative Council, volunteers for the Kidzwish Foundation sports academy program, referees for local sporting clubs and participates in fundraisers.
“The ambition and drive of Miss Rye to improve the lives of those in the local community and anyone in need is commendable,” she said.
“We are honoured to have such an outstanding young person who is such a positive influence on others.
Community Hero Awards were presented to four young people involved in two rescues at Warilla beach last year.
Member of Shellharbour Surf Life Saving Club’s U11 Nippers, Cooper Furney responded quickly to rescue two young boys struggling in the water. He swam to the pair, providing them with his own surfboard and kept them afloat and calm until further help arrived.
Storm Balmain, Nash Balmain and Zane Hammersley were aged nine and 10-years old when they rescued a family of four and their dog caught in a rip at the beach. The three members of Warilla Barrack Point Surf Life Save Club Nippers swam out to the struggling family, putting the younger two children onto their boards and helped them ashore before returning to assist with the rescue of the grandmother and dog.
“All of these young boys have displayed composure in an emergency situation beyond their years,” she said.
“Their quick thinking and brave actions have helped to save the lives of others.”
The nominees were presented with their awards at the Australia Day ceremony at Reddall Reserve, Lake Illawarra on Thursday 26 January.