June shire’s number one citizen

June shire’s number one citizen

Far East Gippsland was well represented in this year’s East Gippsland Australia Day Award nominations with Mallacoota and Cann River producing the results.

Longtime Mallacoota resident, June Drake, was announced yesterday at a civic ceremony in Bairnsdale as the shire’s 2019 Citizen of the Year. Cann River Community Centre was awarded community event of the year for its International Volunteer Appreciation Day held on May 25. Acknowledged as the shire’s Young Citizen of the Year was Bairnsdale’s Torin Troy.

June has been an inspiration and role model for many people in Mallacoota since arriving in 1987.

She has been secretary of the Friends of Mallacoota Group for the past 18 years as well as being involved with 3MGB community radio as treasurer for the past six years. She has also been a producer and compiler of music for the past 25 years.

June has had various other roles in the community, including volunteering with the information shed, ambulance auxiliary committee, recycling group, U3A, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Mallacoota Mouth and the Croajingolong Centre for Communication and Arts.

She is also on the board of many of Mallacoota’s community and sporting bodies.

Always respectful, courteous, welcoming and inclusive, June is an invaluable networker who has helped establish connections with and between people and groups.

Ready to lend a hand in any way she can, June’s initiative and support has contributed greatly to the Mallacoota community and its surrounding environment.

“Without the community of Mallacoota I wouldn’t be standing here today accepting this award,” June said.

“I’ve never regretted moving to Mallacoota 30 years ago. It is the most inclusive community, a very warm one, and one that pulls together whenever there is a need.

“I hope I live there for another 20 years.”

June thanked those who nominated her for the award and the shire for its support and said she hoped her award will be good for Mallacoota.

“It is a wonderful town and no matter your education, age, who or what you are, it is welcoming,” she said.

“The community is a great mixture. And it keeps the older people young; well younger,” she laughs.

The East Gippsland Australia Day Awards recognise community service and achievement, recipients chosen based on nominations put forward by residents from across the shire.

Mayor, Cr Natalie O’Connell, said the awards recognise people who selflessly give back to their communities.

“Congratulations to our Australia Day Award winners. With such great community spirit in East Gippsland it is not surprising that there were many worthy nominations that made the judges’ jobs difficult,” Cr O’Connell said.

“These prestigious awards recognise people who make East Gippsland a better place to live. We all know those kinds of people. They are role models for us all; driving us to think about what we can do for our communities to make a difference.”

PICTURED: Cann River Volunteer Appreciation Day has been awarded the East Gippsland 2019 Community Event of the Year while Mallacoota’s June Drake has taken out the top honours as the shire’s Citizen of the Year at this year’s East Gippsland Australia Day Awards, announced yesterday. Cann River Community Centre coordinator, Susie Bady (left) accepted the award on behalf of the volunteer appreciation day organisers. Both June and Susie commended their local communities for their successes.