That includes Jenny Oldland, who was one of three people to win Yorke Peninsula Council Citizen of the Year that afternoon. She had already covered five different Australia Day gatherings before receiving her award.
Many smaller towns hold celebrations, and several issue their own awards to recognise community members who go above and beyond.
So many people do so much for our part of the world. Jenny shared her award with Rob Cook and Chris Soar, all three having served the area tirelessly for years. Seven people were nominated and I initially thought choosing three winners might have been a bit much. After all, you don’t want to acknowledge everyone at once and then run out of nominees down the track.
But I realised there will always be deserving recipients, more than could ever share such an award as the Citizen of the Year. There have been a couple of occasions when local councils have received zero nominations for the award. That is the fault of those who should be nominating others, not any lack of effort from the volunteers of YP.
I spent part of Australia Day in Minlaton to see Jenny and the other winners accept their awards, but first I stopped in Maitland where the CY Cougars’ clubrooms had been extensively damaged. Someone had smashed essentially every window across the front of the building. This has caused a major headache for the club’s many volunteers, the kind of people who might one day be nominated for awards like Citizen of the Year.
Today’s paper has other examples of people making the wrong choices, including a heartbreaking article about items having been stolen from graves. Sharing such stories shines a light on the devastation these actions can cause. But we must always remember for every person who makes a bad decision to the detriment of the community, there are countless others working to make YP a better place.
Nick Perry, Editor