The 2021 Port Macquarie-Hastings Australia Day award recipients were announced earlier this morning at the official Australia Day ceremony.
Mayor Peta Pinson expressed her gratitude to all award recipients and nominees for their extraordinary contributions to our community.
"These dedicated and passionate people uphold the values of what it means to be Australian, and show us exactly why the Port Macquarie-Hastings region is a great place to call home," mayor Pinson said.
"There are some truly inspirational stories from this year's nominees, and it certainly makes me proud to be part of a community that shares a common goal of connectedness, compassion, and looking out for each other."
The following members of the Port Macquarie-Hastings community were rewarded for their work.
2021 Citizen of the Year: Robyn Rawson.
Robyn Rawson recognised that farmers were doing it tough in 2020 after the bushfires and drought and created the 'Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Surrounds Doing it for Our Farmers' group.
She set out to make a change and began organising and coordinating collections of food, water, toiletries and pet food. She organised donations for distribution for firstly drought relief, and then later bushfire relief.
Robyn established donation drop off points, collections and the made-up hampers to be dispersed to the farmers, that she would often deliver herself.
Her team transported trucks-loads of donated goods throughout the Mid North Coast area, assisting farmers in need, while being mindful and respecting their privacy. She recognised a group that wouldn't ask for help, and her generosity supported this group through an extremely tough time.
Robyn Rawson's effort and unwavering commitment to helping our local farmers is greatly admired by the local community.
2021 Senior Citizen of the Year: Phyllis Hollis
Phyllis Hollis has a long history of volunteering within her community, and is an impassioned and valued community member.
She has lent her time to countless groups, including the Upper Hastings Sporting Group, Hastings Country Music Club, St Cuthbert's Anglican Church, Long Flat Football Club, Yarras School, Long Flat rodeo, Ellenborough Hall, Long Flat School, and many more.
After the devastating bushfires and drought experienced by the Yarras community, Phyllis and her husband, Reg, were ready and willing to help out their neighbours and community in any way they could.
The couple began volunteering as distributors for the Dominion Grace Women's Ministry, which helps to distribute clothes, household goods, electrical appliances and food to bushfire-affected families.
Phyllis continuously works for her community, and her selflessness is greatly admired and appreciated.
2021 Young Citizen of the Year: Molly Kemp
Molly Kemp is a valued member of Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Club, having worked her way through the nipper program and cadets. Molly's positive attitude and hard work led to her selection as a participant for the SLSNSW 'Youth Opportunity Makers Workshop'.
Outside of Surf Life Saving, Molly was commended on being a motivator and a team player through receiving the 'Star Award' when she represented NSW in the under 19 Girls Volleyball International competition.
The impressive Molly has been awarded both the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh's Awards, and is on the way to completing her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award.
2021 Community Group of the Year: Lake Cathie RFS Brigade
The Lake Cathie RFS Brigade played a valuable role in fighting the bushfires that devastated our region in early 2020.
Their work was instrumental in containing the fire's spread and protecting local homes, lives and the community. The Lake Cathie RFS was so diligent in monitoring and quickly jumping into action, there is no question of the volunteer's hard work and commitment to the local community.
Stuart Bale, President of the Camden Haven Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry summarised a view that is widely shared by the public, in saying, "these men and women showed extreme resilience, bravery and heroism."
The numerous RFS volunteers put their lives, jobs and family commitments on hold to help and protect Lake Cathie and the community is very grateful for their efforts and dedication.
2021 Environmental Citizen of the Year: Judy Love.
Judy Love can often be found walking the coast of Bonny Hills picking up rubbish and pulling weeds. Her great passion for the environment and our native flora is truly inspiring.
Described as being the 'ultimate eco warrior' she has served as the president of Bonny Hills Landcare for three years.
Judy has led many projects aiming to spread the message of being eco-friendly. Her dedication has led to the permanent removal of weeds on Grants Headland, and the annual 'Clean Up Australia Day' event in Bonny Hills.
Judy has also been instrumental in the identification and removal of the African Tulip Tree which is recognised as being detrimental to the local native bee population.
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