The 2017 list of nominations for Cowra’s Australia Day awards is not only abundant but from a great variety of backgrounds.
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Cowra Mayor Bill West said: “We always have a significant number of great candidates and this year it will be just as tough for the judging panel. The range of community members and initiatives that have been included is outstanding.”
The Citizen of the Year nominees are:
Fran is the Manager of the Cowra Information & Neighbourhood Centre (CINC). She has held the role for over two years and lifted the service profile and engagement considerably. Fran’s welcoming nature has been recognised by many visitors to the centre. Since her employment as Manager the CINC has sought greater service delivery objectives, particularly in the youth engagement area. Fran works with all facets of the community - government agencies, education, tourism and business to offer Cowra the best support network possible.
Marc is one of Cowra’s proudest people. He loves to give to the community and supports anything that makes Cowra grow and thrive. Marc has been a contributing member of an outstanding number of organisations including Cowra Band, Cowra Pitch Fork Event, Cowra Junior Rugby League former President and coach, Cowra Junior Cricket committee and coach, Cowra Musical & Dramatic Society performer and member, PCYC volunteer Touch Football referee, Cowra Magpies Rugby League former President and player. Marc has also volunteered his time to fundraising activities for St Raphaels, Cowra Netball, Cowra Youth Council and Cowra Christmas Night Markets. His nomination this year noted his development of the ‘Back to Cowra’ Reunion. This activity, held over one week, was initiated by Marc to reunite old friends and recognise our culture and history. Marc formed the original committee, managed the logistics, promotion and created an inclusive event for all. He donates his time, financial support and equipment to so many activities he must find little time to sleep!
Lisa Lette is one of life’s quiet achievers. She settled in Cowra in 2012 with her family and transferred her membership in the NSW SES to the Cowra Unit. Lisa’s passion for the SES has helped grow the Cowra Unit to increase membership numbers and greater community awareness. Lisa has stepped into higher level duties and distinguished herself during challenging emergency events. During the recent floods Lisa was tasked with Incident Control in the absence of her superior officers. She excelled in managing difficult Flood Rescues, liaison with Emergency Service Personnel, tasking duties to SES volunteers and providing responses to community members. Lisa is known for a smile when times are tough and for providing help when requested.
Pat loves Cowra, loves sport and loves to help! Pat has been a swim coach for the Stingrays Swim Club for many years. His students have achieved significant success under his guidance. Pat has also coached junior squash for over 10 years. This commitment requires a two hour program every week to encourage and develop young players. He is a life member of both the Cowra Squash Club and Cowra Stingrays Swim Club for long-standing contributions. Pat’s latest challenge is as President of the Cowra Nature Based Adventure Playground Committee. This committee has devoted countless hours to researching a playground that supports the local ecosystem, utilises natural settings and engages all age groups - a significant feat of planning.
Mike Holloway has always been an active community member, making significant contributions in particular with Rotary. Mike recently undertook a major fundraising activity for the Headspace service in Cowra, raising over $30,000. The ‘Hands Up for Headspace’ project involved arranging donations, sales and events with funds used to provide an ongoing service for local young people. Mike initiated the ‘Books for Babies’ program which grants a book to every newborn baby in Cowra, giving out over 2000 books to date. PCYC has also been a beneficiary of Mike’s dedication. He contributes considerable time to establishment and upkeep of the PCYC Young Road facility. Holman Place School has also received Mike’s support to install a wheelchair swing for disabled students.
Robyn is a well known and highly respected member of the Cowra community. She is employed in Aboriginal education at Cowra High school and uses her skills to develop student and community relations. She has previously been nominated for a Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Education and an Indigenous Education Award. Robyn’s role at Cowra High takes a significant amount of her time but she contributes enormous energy to community activities outside of this. Robyn was a strong campaigner for Cowra Council to permanently display an Aboriginal flag and supports community events by performing ‘Welcome to Country’ when she can. Her commitment to positive relationships in the community extends to support of young people, services and schools, for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Alison Rutledge has extraordinary stamina and expertise for helping others. She is a stalwart of the St Raphaels P&F, driving the Food Garden project from initiation to completion. Her input didn’t stop there. She assisted the school to utilise all facets of recycling and environmentally friendly watering to enhance the garden’s output. Alison joined the Woodstock Show Committee to develop new ideas for inclusion in the program, providing much-needed financial support to the Woodstock Swimming Pool, Historical group and Woodstock School. Alison also works on the family farm, educates schools on recycling and supports many school garden projects.
Rowena Casey is the consummate organiser and contributor for any group she joins. Rowena has been a committee member of Carinya Early Childhood Services, Cowra Public School P&C, Cowra Swimming Club, First Cowra Scouts, South West Life Education Committee, Cowra Inner Wheel Club, Cowra VIEW Club, Cowra Eisteddfod and CWA of NSW Cowra Evening Branch. During 2016 Rowena was elected President of the CWA State Conference Organising Committee which was held in Cowra. The Conference took two years to plan and saw over 700 attend. Cowra Business Chamber estimated a boost to the Cowra economy of $2.5 Million as a direct result. Her previous roles in CWA are extensive, including South West Group Representative, State Executive, State International Officer and delegate to the Pacific Area Conference of the Associated Country Women of the World. She has also assisted the CWA Show Catering Committee Tea Rooms at the Royal Easter Show. Rowena is an Elder of the St Peter’s Presbyterian Church.
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