Worthy Wollondilly locals earn top nods

Wollondilly Citizen of the Year Marjo Hallowell. Picture: Supplied

Wollondilly Citizen of the Year Marjo Hallowell. Picture: Supplied

There is no doubt Wollondilly is home to some inspiring locals.

This year the shire has recognised some of its most dedicated residents at a virtual Australia Day Civic Awards Ceremony.

The awards recognise community members who have worked hard to make the shire a better place.

This year's Citizen of the Year is Marjo Hallowell.

Ms Hallowell has been a stalwart of the local community for more than 40 years.

She is the secretary of One Stop Community Assistance (OSCA) and treasurer of Wollondilly Women in Business.

In 2021 she started a book on Bargo involving as many of the residents as possible.

She also rode 850 kilometres in the Great Cycle Challenge for the Children's Medical Research Institute with her team raising $9229.

She is a member of The National Trust , a friend of Picton Rotary Club and was a member of the Picton CWA.

The 2022 Young citizen of the Year is Dane Clark.

Dane is a Junior Sempai at Wollondilly Karate and he teaches the kindergarten children through to the primary aged children with pride and patience.

He has represented NSW and Australia from the age of 10 and is currently the International Sport Karate and Kickboxing Association Australian Champion for 16/17 year-old boys in full contact sparring.

Dane has also played for Tahmoor Cricket Club and, during the COVID outbreak in 2021, he ran Zoom classes every afternoon and included games to help the children cope

The shire's Environmental Citizen of the Year is Nangarin Vineyard Estate's land care coordinator, Reginald Collins.

As an early resident of the estate, which was developed in 2001, Mr Collins has served on the executive committee for 12 years managing programmes to control invasive weeds in the bushland corridors.

The Local Hero of the Year is avid community volunteer Tia Veech.

Ms Veech has helped to feed people during COVID, volunteered with Dilly Rocks and is a member of the Board of Directors of Picton and Districts Community Bank.

MS Veech is involved with a social media group called Communities with a Purpose, advocating and assisting any and all small charities, helping raise awareness and championing for their cause.

Through this, Ms Veech was one of the volunteers behind the Driveways at Dawn initiative in 2020 and also The Wear it Yellow day committee to say thank you to all the firefighters.

The shire's Community Group of the Year is Wollondilly Women in Business.

Established in 2015 as a Not for Profit organisation, Wollondilly Women in Business (WWIB) is the largest and fastest growing professional, business and community network in the Wollondilly region.

Women in the Wollondilly area face significant challenges in accessing training, skills development, and employment opportunities due to its location, as well as the current and ongoing economic crisis which has disproportionately impacted women.

WWIB has facilitated the delivery of various community-focused initiatives such as the 'Back into the Workforce, Business Start-Up, and Back to Business' programs since 2018.

Thomas Noakes is the shire's Sportsperson of the Year for 2022.

Unfortunately, some of the changed and compressed preparation due to closures of athletics facilities in 2020 and 2021 meant Thomas competed at the 2021 NSW Combined Events championships with a stress fracture in his back.

Despite the pain, he won this event.

Following the championships he completed a full suite of rehabilitation and made his comeback at school athletics, where he won every event he competed in.

The shire's Achiever of the Year is Wollondilly Men's Health Social Group's Mark Davies.

The group started as a group of about 12 guys from all backgrounds who met for a friendly get-together. Over time, the group has grown to more than 375 registered members.

Mr Davies aimed to bring men together to meet socially without judgement or attitude.

The 2022 Disability Inclusion Award winner is IC Care volunteer Wendy Evans.

Ms Evans has been chairperson on the board of Interactive Community Care for more than 10 years and is currently vice-chairperson.

She is a strong advocate for the clients and is consistently raising needs and issues with local ministers and federal members.

Ms Evans has also volunteered hours of her time for Meals on Wheels, Social Support Groups, Social Support Individual and with NDIS clients.

This story Worthy Wollondilly locals earn top nods first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.