Campaspe and Murray shire residents turned out to ceremonies across the region to recognise and congratulate those honoured on Australia Day.
An unassuming Moama man who helps the region’s less fortunate and a ‘‘legend’’ of the Rushworth community received the district’s two top honours at Australia Day ceremonies on Saturday.
Moama’s Ken Jones was named Murray Shire’s Citizen of the Year at Moama’s Kerrabee Soundshell.
Rushworth’s Harry Ashton was named Campaspe Shire’s Citizen of the Year.
Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich said Mr Jones was an unassuming man who often helped others without accepting accolades.
‘‘Ken started helping the homeless many years ago at the request of Father Jon Tinkler for a three-week period, but still cooks breakfast, finds food, assists with urgent accommodation needs and rarely misses looking after their interests,’’ he said.
‘‘Ken is involved with arranging toys for the disadvantaged through a toy supplier and hands the toys out at Christmas to the kids through various organisations.
‘‘He is a valued member of Vietnam Veterans, arranging help for veteran problems such as pension entitlements and medical support.’’
In the nomination for his award, Mr Ashton was described as a ‘‘legend’’.
‘‘His love of life, of people, his honest unselfish giving of his time, energy and commitment to everyone in our community is unparalleled,’’ his nominator wrote.
Mr Ashton’s volunteer work is spread around the district and includes being Rushworth men’s shed co-ordinator, a mentor to boys from the Mirrimbeena Aboriginal Education Centre and Department of Justice offenders, State Emergency Service trainer and mentor, volunteer driver, tutor and newspaper courier for Rushworth Community House and cook and bus driver for the Rushworth and Colbinabbin Senior Citizens Group.
Campaspe Shire mayor Ian Maddison was pleased to announce Mr Ashton as the award winner.
‘‘Harry is a fine example of someone who puts service to others above self,’’ he said.
‘‘His exhausting list of volunteer work for the Rushworth community is truly remarkable.’’
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