Six Port Stephens residents and groups have been honoured with Port Stephens Annual Awards at this year’s Australia Day celebrations in Port Stephens.
- Citizen of the Year: Hazel Grey
- Young Citizen of the Year: Carissa Maher
- Sportsperson of the Year: Tony Gillespie
- Port Stephens Medal: Tomaree Accommodation Service Inc.
- Port Stephens Medal: Boat Harbour Parks and Reserve Committee
- Port Stephens Medal: David Sams
Acknowledged for their ongoing contribution to the community, nominees and Award recipients were recognised in a ceremony at Riverside Park, Raymond Terrace, as well as Fly Point Nelson Bay.
The Citizen of the Year award was taken out by Hazel Grey, who has given over 60 years’ service across a wide variety of organisations, including the Red Cross, RSL, CWA and Raymond Terrace Baptist Church.
Medowie Christian School alum and Youth Parliament Representative Carissa Maher was the deserving recipient of Young Citizen of the Year. Living with a chronic illness, Carissa has used the opportunity provided through the Youth Parliament to speak about the struggles of daily life with people living with invisible disabilities.
Beginning his martial arts journey at the age of seven, Tony Gillespie has taken out Sportsperson of the Year, having brought Taekwondo and fitness to over 100 students. At the beginning of 2016, Tony also started teaching martial art to people with a disability.
Peter Murray accepted a Port Stephens Medal on behalf of Boat Harbour Parks and Reserves Committee, and Tomaree Accommodation Services Inc. also received a Port Stephens Medal and was represented by Pamela Raeburn. A third Port Stephens Medal was received by David Sams.
Mayor of Port Stephens Bruce MacKenzie said the Annual Awards are a great opportunity to come together and thank those who do so much for our area.
“Australia Day is a time for us to celebrate what’s great about our community and the people who positively contribute to our region every day,” he said.
“This year’s nominees have worked in a range of areas, helping many local residents and it’s fantastic to be able to take time to acknowledge their commitment and passion to Port Stephens.
“Our judging panel was tasked with the difficult job of selecting winners from this worthy group of nominees, the calibre of which is testimony to the wonderful people who call Port Stephens home.”
Citizen of the Year: Hazel Grey
Hazel has been volunteering for the local Community for over 60 years providing service across a wide variety of organisations including the Red Cross, RSL, CWA and Raymond Terrace Baptist Church. Today Hazel continues to lead a seniors
leisure group and is the Treasurer of Raymond Terrace Senior Citizens while also managing the hall bookings. Hazel was nominated to recognise her lifetime of service to the Port Stephens Community.
Young Citizen of the Year: Carissa Maher
Carrissa completed her HSC last year, topping her class in a number of subjects and becoming Medowie Christian School Dux of 2016. Carrissa was the 2016 recipient of the ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award and represented the Port Stephens area as the Port
Stephens YMCA Youth Parliament Representative. Carrissa lives with a chronic illness and used an opportunity provided through the Youth Parliament to speak about the struggles of daily life with people living with an invisible disability.
Sportsperson of the Year: Tony Gillespie
Tony runs Imugi Taekwondo with his partner Kelly and made the Australian Karate Team at age 12. Tony has achieved many titles including NAS National Champion
Middle Weight Male Black Belt Point Sparring 2015 and 16 and National All Style NSW Champion Open Male Black Belt 2015 and 16. Tony currently trains 60 Taekwondo students, as well as 40 fitness clients and, at the beginning of 2016, started training people with a disability in martial arts.
Port Stephens Medal: Tomaree Accommodation Service Inc.
Tomaree Accommodation Service has been operating for over 20 years and is most well known for their social events which see people with a disability come together each month to share a meal at a local venue. Up to 100 people attend these functions which require a significant amount of organisation and volunteer hours to pull together.
Port Stephens Medal: Boat Harbour Parks and Reserve Committee
The members of the Boat Harbour Parks and Reserve Committee have carried out extensive work on the southern headland of Boat Harbour turning a neglected reserve into an area the community is proud of. Walking tracks lead from the carpark to the ‘Solace’ (an area for reflection for families touched by suicide), to a rock cairn and onto the Noamunga Headland where they have constructed a BBQ area and seating for whale watchers.
Port Stephens Medal: David Sams
Dave Sams has worked tirelessly for many years supporting community initiatives in Port Stephens. Dave was one of the founding members of the Waste As Art Project as well as the Port Stephens Suicide Prevention Network, helping to raise funds for the delivery of ASSIST Suicide Prevention training. Dave also finds time to volunteer with the Tomaree Youth Community Action Incorporation, helping to fundraise, supporting community BBQs as well as Snak and Rap events across Port Stephens.