Hidden gems honoured at Australia Day Community Citizen of the Year

Friday, 27 January 2017

Local individuals and groups that have made a positive, active contribution to the Mandurah community have been recognised at a special Australia Day ceremony on the Eastern Foreshore.

The Citizen of the Year Awards foster, recognise and celebrate significant contributions to community life and active citizenship in all local government areas of Western Australia.

Mayor Marina Vergone said it’s a great honour to acknowledge these extraordinary local people who have given so much of their personal and professional lives to help others.

“The Community Citizen of the Year Awards are a great way to recognise the great work being done every day in our community,” she said.

“Too often these hidden gems go about making their contribution without being recognised but Australia Day is a fantastic day to celebrate their important role in our community.”

The winners (below) were presented with a medallion and certificate in recognition of their community pride and spirit and will be included on the Honour Walk.

• Community Citizen of the Year Award: joint winners

Mark Patterson
As an active and giving citizen within the community, Mark demonstrates a great work ethic and has compassion for others who are not so fortunate. Mark has his own plumbing business, and often lends his time free of charge to those in need. He is also a volunteer skipper for Mandurah Water Rescue, and has been for the past eight years. Mark often gives up family times to assist with keeping local waterways safe during community events, as well as the many recoveries of vessels and missing persons over the past few years. As a passionate, registered bee keeper, he works with local pest control businesses, real estate agents and the City of Mandurah to preserve the native bee population.

Nikki Wise (posthumously)
Nikki ran the Reach Out Drop In Centre and provided support to the community by supplying meals to homeless and those in need, and a shoulder for them to lean on. Nikki was completely humble in her work, and never sought recognition for her good deeds. She was a quiet achiever who identified a gap in services, and took it upon herself to fill that gap. Her dedication and tireless efforts led to her being a much-loved member of our community. In addition to her charity work, Nikki was also a mother of two teenage children. She was very proud of her children and supported them in their every endeavour. Nikki left a huge mark on the community, and is recognised for her selfless work.

• Community Citizen of the Year Award (Youth) under 25 years: Jake Webb
Jake has been a member of Mandurah Surf Life Saving Club since he was six years old. For the past six years, Jake has been a volunteer surf life saver patrolling Mandurah beaches keeping the community safe. The majority of patrols are on weekends and this is a significant contribution of personal time. He commenced his life saving service at 13 years old, and has provided volunteer water safety for many sports and community events over the past six years. Now at 19, Jake is the youngest member of the Peel Operations Emergency Squad that are on standby for critical beach and ocean incidents. In order to join the Peel Operations Emergency Squad, Jake was required to complete special qualifications and a rigorous mental and physical selection process which was achieved due to his passion and commitment to volunteer service and the community.

• Community Citizen of the Year Award (Senior) over 65 years: Kath Palmer
Kath is helps the homeless and those in need by supplying food boxes, helping them search for employment opportunities and contributing to fundraising events. Kath also attends the funerals of homeless people that have passed away expecting nothing in return. Kath has a Facebook page called Halo that she set up to ask for help from the community with certain items that she needs. She assists people in gaining housing, helps them furnish their houses and guides them back to their own independence.

• Award for Active Citizenship (Group or Event): Halo Team Inc.
HALO runs a community op shop that provides food, clothing and furniture to those in need. They have a transitional home which houses up to ten homeless people at a time providing them with shelter, meals and support to transition to their own home and employment. HALO also run the Peel Community Kitchen on a Sunday to feed the homeless and those in need.