Residents of the Kiama LGA were well represented in this year’s Kiama Electorate Community Recognition Awards, taking out eight of the nine awards (one was a joint win) and making a strong showing in each category.
Thirty-two of the 52 nominations were residents of our Municipality, including all six businesses nominated for the Small Business Award.
The Awards were presented by John Ajaka MLC, the NSW Minister with responsibility for Volunteering.
“Our region is truly bless-ed with talented and passionate local people. Volunteers don’t seek recognition but they deserve every ounce
of commendation for their efforts,” says Gareth Ward, MP for Kiama.
“The Awards are our chance to pay tribute to so many deserving and dedicated people.”
Some of the Award winners are well known identities around town, such as former Mayor Brian Petschler and Col Rathbourne, while others deserve to be better known for their contributions and achievements.
OUTSTANDING LOCAL VOLUNTEER – Col Rathbone, Kiama
Recognised for his years of voluntary work assisting organisations such as Kiama Red Cross, Kiama Junior Football Club, Kiama District Sports Association, Friends of Blue Haven and Friends of Vision Australia. Col is a shining example of the adage ‘Service above self’.
OUTSTANDING YOUNG CITIZEN – Joel Trist, Kiama Downs
Joel went to the rescue of fellow surfer Brett Connellan at Bombo Beach after he was attached by a shark. Despite the danger, Joel paddled 50 metres towards Brett, dragg-ed him onto his surfboard and with others helped stop the bleeding. These actions saved Brett’s life.
OUTSTANDING SMALL BUSINESS – Natural Necessity Surf Shop, Gerringong
Kent Ladkin opened the Surf Shop in Gerringong in 1976. This business now employs over 50 people year round and attracts much needed tourism dollars to the town.
OUTSTANDING EMERGENCY SERVICES VOLUNTEER – Kirra Waine, Kiama Downs
Kirra was recognised for her hard work and dedication as a volunteer with the Kiama SES Unit for almost seven years. During this time, Kirra has transformed and improved the Unit’s operational capacity, making the office paperless by using iPads in the field to manage job tasking during major floods and storms.
JUNIOR SPORTS AWARD – Matt Panecasio, Kiama
Matt is 20 years old and has represented New South Wales in Indoor Cricket with great distinction. He was selected in the Australian Under 20’s team that travelled to Port Macquarie for the prestigious Trans-Tasman match.
LOCAL SPORTS AWARD – Amanda Reid, Werri Beach
Amanda is a Guring-Gai/Wemba Wemba Aboriginal woman who has achieved outstanding success at Paralympic level in two individual sports. She won a Silver Medal and broke the Paralympic record in the track time trial 500 metre
C1-2-3 Women’s event at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.
SPORTS ADMINISTRATOR AWARD – Michelle Quine, Gerringong
Michelle was recognised for her significant contribution as President of the Gerringong Tennis Club, in which role she also fought secure funds from the State Government to upgrade the Clubhouse.
OUTSTANDING CITIZEN – Joint winner Brian Petschler, Kiama Heights
Brian was recognised for his significant contribution as the former Mayor of Kiama Municipal Council in leading the local community’s campaign to save Kiama Council from amalgamation.