The backbones of successful country towns, volunteering and community involvement, were celebrated at Federation Council’s Australia Day celebration.
Citizen of the year Peter Seeliger proved you don’t need to be born in a community to help shape it.
Mr Seeliger moved to Mulwala in 1984 after visiting the town for decades, and since then he has served on council, in more than seven communities and volunteered throughout the community.
“I always believed if you want to live in a great community, you have to get off your backside and help make it great,” he said.
Mr Seeliger played a key role in the amalgamation of the Mulwala and Yarrawonga Eagles Rugby League Club and the Mulwala Football Club.
He used his acceptance speech as a platform to urge residents to help out and in turn, appreciate the efforts of volunteers.
“Without volunteers our small country communities would not survive or be able to provide the services these small communities need to survive,” he said.
Year 10 Oaklands student Liam Summons showed youth engagement is alive and well ensuring volunteerism continues into the future.
The 15-year-old won a local achiever award and was named young citizen of the year for his leadership and community contributions through volunteering for Oaklands Anzac March, Oaklands Truck Show and other projects.
Liam has served on the student representative council, been a house captain and was selected to be an Ambassador for Federation Council Sister City Program with Japan in 2017.
“The award is not just a piece of paper or certificate it’s a sign of standing out in the community and daring to do your best,” Liam said.
“I just help out, there’s nothing else to do and it’s good to help and make people happy.”
Liam said he was not expecting to win either award because the shire was filled with people achieving.
He called on other young people to get involved in their communities to help them grow into the future.
“It helps out and brings joy to people, it’s definitely worth doing,” he said.
Howlong Opportunity Shop was named council’s community project of the year. The Annual Corowa Swim-in and Military Vehicle Gathering was the community event of the year.
Daryl Davey and John and Andrea Barwick received local achiever awards.
Margaret and Peter Crump, Phillip Nielsen and Aaron Nicholls and O’Brien Court residents won the 2017 Light Up Federation awards.