AUSTRALIA DAY: "I'll do all I can to better my city'

SIX heart bypasses would be enough to slow anyone but Wangaratta’s citizen of the year said he would still be the first to put his hand up to help out a community cause.
Kevin Mahoney was “overwhelmed” and “surprised” when he was named at the city’s Australia Day celebration yesterday because his quiet personality makes him humble about his achievements. 
“Everything I’ve done, whether it be sport or anything else, I’ve done because I am capable of doing it,” he said. 
Mr Mahoney, 75, who was born in the city, said he enjoyed helping develop the city’s services.
He fondly spoke about being crowned an executive member of the junior football league after 11 years of coaching.
His longest commitment was as founder of St Patrick’s Bingo Club — it ran for more than 35 years.
“Unfortunately that ended last July because we could no longer get the numbers,” he said.
Mr Mahoney said his wife, Barbara, had been his strength.
“I couldn’t have done it without her, she has supported me and helped me through all of it,” he said. 
Mr Mahoney said he tried to treat people with respect.
“I have friends of all different nationalities who are good to me and I try to be good to them,” he said. 
Young citizen of the year is Erin Ritchie. 
Ms Ritchie, 18, has been a member of Wangaratta’s youth council and served a year as the junior mayor. 
Her nomination spoke of how she offered advice and inspiration to other young members of the community. 
“I’ve been involved in community leadership for a long time,” she said.
“I’m all about getting in and having a go.”
Ms Ritchie encouraged other young people to find something they love and grab it with both hands.
“Whether it be sport or music or anything else, just get out and do it,” she said.

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