Retirement not an option for Lismore's top citizen
LIFE hasn't slowed down for Grahame Bonamy since his retirement 11 years ago.
Instead the McLeans Ridges man has thrown himself into volunteer work, helping organisations such as Meals on Wheels, the Lismore Lions Club, Lismore SES and the Coraki Golf Club.
His dedication yesterday earned him the honour of Citizen of the Year at Lismore City Council's Australia Day Awards ceremony.
“I am totally overwhelmed,” he said.
“I didn't expect it at all. I just try to put back into the community.
“I don't do volunteer work for awards like this.
“My reward is helping people. It's the most fulfilling thing there is.”
Young Citizen of the Year is Richmond River High student Sam Stead, 17, who was described as a 'role model for Aboriginal students'.
Sam is president of his school's Student Representative Council and a keen fundraiser.
“I help with the Red Cross door-knock and I sell poppies on Remembrance Day,” Sam said.
“I just want to help out. But I definitely didn't think I'd win this award.”
Groups and organisations to win awards included the Filipino Community (Multicultural); St John's College Under-13 Rugby League Team (Sports Group) and Lismore Toy Library (Community Services Group). They received their awards from ambassador Craig Goozee.
Mr Goozee also told the sad but inspirational story of losing his eldest daughter to a rare form of bone cancer. He has since raised more than $500,000 for charities.
“People here have the opportunity to do what- ever they want,” he said.
“They only time you fail is when you don't try.
“When negatives come along, you can turn them into positives.”
Mr Goozee is planning his biggest marathon yet - a 15,000km, 94-day journey around Australia. He hopes to raise $1 million.
- Citizen of the Year: Grahame Bonamy
- Young Citizen of the Year: Sam Stead
- Community Services: Richard Carroll
- Reconciliation: Doreen Flanders
- Environment: Barbara Dobner
- Art/Cultural: Heather Sidney
- Junior Sportsperson: Jordan Gahan
- Senior Sportsperson: Geoffrey Hallman