Mayor Bill West was honoured to announce the winners of the Cowra Australia Day Awards today.
"What a wonderful group of volunteers we have in our Shire. The nominees all deserve applause and gratitude, most especially our winners," said Cr West.
The Cowra Citizen of the Year has been awarded to well-known local, Gerard Farrar. Gerard, or Ged to many, was nominated for a number of reasons. It might be easier to say what Ged hasn't been involved in than list his extraordinary community service.
Ged is a Cowra Show Society stalwart, taking part in events, management, working bees, initiating new activities and organising equipment. Ged does all of this with a minimum of fuss and a smiling face. He was previously nominated for an award with the state body for Agricultural shows and was in the top three finalists of the Agricultural Societies Council Dedication Award.
Ged has been a member of many local organisations including the Rural Fire Service, St Raphaels Parish, and various committees including Parish Council, Finance Committee, Parents and Friends Association and has maintained the parish grounds for more than 20 years.
"His caring and thoughtful nature has seen him involved in many groups, just simply to do all the 'little things'. Ged is the glue that holds a community together," Cr West said.
The next category is the Young Citizen of the Year and the winner is Stassi Austin.
Stassi Austin has fit a lot into her 16 years. She has been a member of the Cowra Youth Council, working on joint and individual projects, for the past two years. Part of this includes chairing meetings and acting as group spokesperson. During 2018 she took on an individual project for the Youth Council called 'Project Upstander', an anti-bullying action for young people.
Stassi is a home schooled high school student and is also a university student, carrying out both studies concurrently. Her home school community has benefited from Stassi arranging picnics, sports days and other activities. She raises funds for cancer research and participates in many community events to better the Cowra Shire.
In 2019 the Community Group of the Year is Cowra Hospital Auxiliary. This group is the lamington producing capital of the Cowra Shire, making more than 90,660 in the past two years. This is the largest fundraising task undertaken by the group in an effort to provide equipment to Cowra Health Service. They raise approximately $30,000 each year through raffles, sponsorship, street stalls, making lamingtons and selling fairy floss. The small but tireless group commit a staggering number of volunteer hours to assisting our hospital to offer the best possible outcomes for patients. It is also the longest running Hospital Auxiliary in the state
The final category is the Dr Warren Whiley Memorial Award for Arts, Culture and Citizenship, which was won by James Lanham. James has been a significant driver of citizenship in the Cowra Shire. He brings entertainment to a large number of people, through his involvement with Insane Championship Wrestling Central West, with the performers spending time among the audience and engaging all areas of the community.
James is passionate about sharing his success with other organisations. The proceeds from Insane Championship Wrestling Central West are shared with Riding for the Disabled and other special needs organisations. His organisation motto 'Entertain, Inspire, Empower' embraces all facets of James's life. He brings community members together and provides a place for everyone to be a part of the entertainment.