Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Tireless volunteer honoured

Seymour's Carol Smith was awarded the Mitchell Shire Citizen of the Year in 2014 for her dedication to numerous organisations and committees.

JENNA BISHOP January 29, 2014 4:56am

Seymour's Carol Smith was awarded the Mitchell Shire 2014 Citizen of the Year award for her work across numerous committees and community organisations.

When Seymour’s Carol Smith heard former president John F. Kennedy speak when she was growing up in the United States, it changed her whole perspective on life.

His famous quote: ‘‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’’ spurred a decision to volunteer her spare time for the community.

Mrs Smith’s dedication has been recognised when she was awarded the Mitchell Shire Citizen of the Year award at the 2014 Australia Day ceremony in Kilmore.

Although she was aware she had been nominated, the award came as a complete surprise.

‘‘I’m very honoured for the recognition and I appreciate all the work the Lions do in the community,’’ she said.

After retiring from the education industry in 2001, Mrs Smith volunteered at her children’s school as part of a parents committee.

‘‘I could just see the benefit of parents being involved in the school and I got to meet other like-minded parents,’’ she said.

From there, her commitment to volunteering snowballed, and she became involved in the Cancer Council Seymour volunteer group, Seymour Goulburn Lions, the Seymour chapter of the University of the Third Age, as a representative of Council on The Aging, and Relay For Life.

‘‘I think it’s really important that as people age, they keep mentally active,’’ she said.

‘‘If you are able to give back to the community, it’s your responsibility to do so.’’

Mrs Smith said volunteering gave her a great sense of satisfaction and allowed her to give something back to the community.

In addition to Citizen of the Year, Seymour also took out the Mitchell Shire award for Event of the Year.

Art Beyond the Divide and Tastes of the Goulburn were also named as joint winners for their success in attracting tourists to the region.

Art Beyond the Divide, organised by the Seymour and District Art Society Inc and GOTAFE, recorded a 29 per cent increase in visitor numbers from the previous event and a 32 per cent increase on entries in 2013.

It attracted visitors from as far as Essendon, Eildon, Benalla, Wangaratta and across Victoria.

Tastes of the Goulburn, organised by the Seymour Agricultural and Pastoral Society Subcommittee, was attended by more than 1800 people, with 42 per cent of visitors coming from outside the region.

Wallan’s Jai Cameron was named Young Citizen of the Year for his work on youth committees and as part of White Ribbon Day.

Mitchell Shire also presented a new award in 2014, the Access and Inclusion Champion Award, which was presented to Broadford’s Mark Tomkins, for his work on disability, access and inclusion committees.

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