Raymond Terrace community stalwart John Chambers has been named Port Stephens' 2020 Citizen of the Year while Nelson Bay basketball coach Daniel Howard has claimed Young Citizen of the Year.
Mr Chambers received the top honour in the Port Stephens Annual Awards for his extensive contributions to the community while Mr Howard was recognised for his efforts in keeping youths active during the COVID-19 lockdown early in 2020 with Young Citizen of the Year.
The pair are two out of 11 community members and groups that were recognised in the 2020 annual awards, which were officially announced at Port Stephens Council's Australia Day civic ceremony held in Medowie on Tuesday morning.
"2020 hasn't been the easiest year for many in our community due to COVID-19 but our annual award recipients have certainly been a shining light," Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said.
"All of our recipients have generously given their time to help others, whether that's through contributing to community groups and programs, caring for the environment, celebrating our culture or dedicating themselves to help our sporting community.
"They are fantastic role models and leaders in the Port Stephens community and I'm proud to be able to recognise their contributions today."
2020 Port Stephens Annual Award winners:
Citizen of the Year: John Chambers
Since he retired from school teaching, John has thrown himself into supporting his local community. John has implemented many community programs to support our most vulnerable including a driver training program, a furniture bank which sees John collecting, storing and distributing household furniture to families in need and a host of other initiatives. John spends a staggering 40 plus hours a week volunteering.
Young Citizen of the Year: Daniel Howard
Daniel has been a basketball coach and mentor with PCYC for the past 9 years, since he was 16 years old. In April last year, in response to COVID lockdowns, he launched Coach Dan Skills and Drills on YouTube and Facebook to keep in touch with local basketball teens. His channels have attracted over 400 followers and helped to motivate local teens to keep fit during the lockdown.
Port Stephens Medals:
The Port Stephens Medal is awarded to individuals, organisations or groups for distinguished service to the community.
- Dennis Peters: Dennis is the recently retired captain of the Raymond Terrace Fire and Rescue team. For 23 years, Dennis has been on the front line in countless firefighting and rescue efforts in our area. Passionate about community education, Peter has also been a local voice educating young people and our community about the importance of fire safety.
- John de Ridder: John has been the president of Caring for Port Stephens Youth (COPSY) since 2016. Passionate about mental health and wellbeing in young people, John has been an active member - advocating and seeking financial support for this important local charity. He was instrumental in securing funding and establishing a free counselling service for young people in the Tomaree area in 2019 and a telehealth service in 2020.
- Andrew Smith: A proud Wonnarua man, Andrew is a well-respected community leader in our area. Andrew has been the CEO of Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council since 2006 and has been instrumental in the Land Council going from strength to strength. He is dedicated to advocating for and strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, and to protecting and fostering Aboriginal culture and identity.
- Medowie Girl Guides: The Medowie Girl Guides has been part of the Port Stephens community for over 40 years. A dedicated group of leaders and volunteers give their time to help teach young women new skills, develop independence, build confidence, make friends and become active community members.
Sportsperson of the Year: Maya Stewart
A Nelson Bay local, Maya has been involved in sport since she was a child including touch football, surf lifesaving and netball - but rugby union is where Maya has found her strength. Through hard work and a dedicated training schedule, Maya found herself on the starting side of the NSW Waratahs team who play in the Super W rugby union competition. Maya is currently vying for a spot in the national Wallaroos squad to participate in the upcoming Olympics and Rugby World Cup.
Cultural Endeavour: Kay Newton and Peter Robinson
Kaye and Peter personify community spirit - they have volunteered tirelessly over the years on many projects and contributed to historical education in our area. Kaye and Peter have been active members of the Raymond Terrace and District Historical Society, King St Preservation and Action Group, and The Australian Heritage Festival. They initiated and coordinated the Back to King Street Fair in 2015 - a large family-friendly historical event in Raymond Terrace which has grown each year in popularity.
Environmental Award: Lia and Ryan Pereira
Lia and Ryan are the founders of Sea Shelter - a not-for-profit marine conservation, research and rescue organisation. They are passionate about preserving the local environment and supporting threatened and endangered animals through breeding programs, research, rehabilitation and rescue.
More to come.
- ALSO READ: Australia Day low-key but parties still on