AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS: Spotlight on our community spirit
WHILE the controversy surrounding our national day continues to swirl, our Australia Day award recipients fill me with hope and pride for our community.
This new community I have chosen to call home is filled to the brim with people who embody the spirit of what I believe it means to be Australian.
Hard-working, selfless Aussies who help their communities in an unassuming manner.
Kathryn George has dedicated her life to ensuring regional students in Mackay had access to quality music programs, with more than 40 students now boasting a career in music since she began in 1979.
Firefighter Nigel Burnell and Paramedic John Hammond have served Queensland's regions for decades.
Their selfless actions are among so many we should celebrate today and I congratulate each and every one of our award winners.
We all need to ask ourselves how we can make a difference too.
Australian Fire Service Medal: Nigel Burnell
Now stationed in the Mackay region since 1987, Nigel Burnell has worked for the Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting Service or 49 years
Ambulance Service Medal: John Hammond
Starting his career in 1998 with the Queensland Ambulance Service as an ambulance officer in Mackay, he was appointed as a paramedic the following year.
OAM: Kathryn George
Dedicated to enhancing student learning and well-being through the power of music, Kathryn George has made a name for herself in the teaching world.
Mackay 2019 Citizen of the Year: Meecham Philpott
Best known for his booming voice behind a microphone, the Mackay 2019 Citizen of the Year is a larger-than-life character.
2019 Australia Day Mackay Young Citizen of the Year: Taleiyah Minniecon
Taleiyah Minniecon has already helped influence decision-making as a passionate young voice for the region.
Lori Burgess Community Volunteer Award: Judy Johnson
IF you've ever had a Christmas gift wrapped at Caneland Central there's a good chance Judy Johnson was the whiz with the paper and ribbon.
Australia Day 2019 Mackay Environmental Achievement Award: Lynette Keir
Lynette Keir is passionate about everything from our natural environment to homegrown produce.
Australia Day 2019 Mackay Arts and Culture Award: Dominic McCarthy
Dominic McCarthy has been a ballet dancer with Theatre Arts Mackay Dance Excellence for the past 12 years.
Australia Day 2019 Mackay Community Group Award: Grapevine Group
Grapevine Group has trained nearly 5000 people in the Mackay region in life saving suicide prevention training.
Australia Day 2019 Mackay Senior Sports Award: Trent Dyson
Trent Dyson is entering his 20th year of volunteering his own time teaching and instructing karate at the Mackay PCYC.
Australia Day 2019 Mackay Junior Sports Award: Shameus Edwards' and Keeley Walker
Shameus Edwards' and Keeley Walker's dedication and commitment to their beloved sports, touch football and hockey, is inspiring.