Ballina barrister is shire's Citizen of the Year
BALLINA Shire Citizen of the Year, barrister Eoin Johnston, was a proud man at the town's Australia Day ceremony when he accepted the award for his lifelong volunteer work for sporting and community groups.
“I will not hesitate to accept this, because this award is on behalf of all the people who pitch away throughout life and don't achieve world fame, who just flicker along and do what they can,” Mr Johnston said.
“Like those people who are always there cooking sausages at the local sporting event, who are members of the State Emergency Service or firefighters working for nothing and for the community, giving and not taking.”
Other award winners were Melissa Cork for Young citizen of the year, Col Pearce for Volunteer of the Year, Barry Saxby for Sportsperson of the Year, and Ballina Rivafest for Community Event of the Year.
Miss Cork, 18, of Ballina, who received her award for academic achievements and leadership, said she could not have achieved so much without God's help.
“I am a committed Christian at Ballina's Christian Church and every day I pray for God's help and it always comes through,” she said.
Ballina's Australia Day ambassador, Olympic gold medallist speed skater Steven Bradbury, inspired the crowd.
After tossing his gold medal for the 1000 metres win at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics into the audience for people to pass around, Mr Bradbury told the story of his win after his competitors fell over.
“Those of you sitting at home might say I was lucky, but for me there was a bit of strategy and a lot of hard work,” he said.
“It's about not giving up, putting in your best effort, being in the right place at the right time and your opportunity will present itself.
“I was there to use my experience and judgment to capitalise.”
And the medal came back to him without him having to look for it.
- Citizen of the Year: Eoin Johnston, of Rous
- Young Citizen of the Year: Melissa Cork, of Lennox Head
- Volunteer of the Year: Col Pearce, of Wollongbar
- Sports Award: Barry Saxby, of Ballina
- Community Event of the Year: Rivafest