2022 Local Celebration Award Winners
- Written by: Jeremy Bentvelzen Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 email@example.com https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
Penrith is home to many dedicated, selfless and inspirational people and Council’s Local Celebration Awards are an opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate these people in our community. Visit our Local Celebration Awards web page to find out more, or see our 2021 Local Celebration Awards winners here, and our 2022 Local Celebration Awards winners below.
2022 Citizen of the Year: Steven Green
Steven Green has dedicated many thousands of hours to volunteering for numerous community organisations throughout Penrith and NSW. He began his volunteering work with St John Ambulance as a Cadet at age 13, eventually becoming a Headquarters Staff Officer and moving into roles such as Divisional Superintendent, providing essential training, mentoring and support to members and other groups. Steven has provided first aid care at many local community and sporting events including World Youth Day and the St Marys Spring Festival, served on the Nepean Local Emergency Management Committee, and is often invited as a guest trainer for other organisations. He has also served on several boards and executive committees including Bridging the Gap in St Marys and the St Marys and St Clair Anglican Parish Council. Steven is a national Director for the Wireless Institute of Australia, the Public Officer and acting Secretary for the Enrolled Nurse Professional Association based in Kingswood, and the President of the Blue Mountains Amateur Radio Club where he and his team provide radio communications training and support including, emergency preparation. Steven also devotes time to providing pastoral care and chaplaincy to nursing home residents and mental health patients in hospital, as well as peer support to emergency service personnel. He is also on-call for the NSW Police when a support person is needed for local youths and those with disabilities.
2022 Mayor’s Local Heroes: Lisa Harrold
For over 35 years, Lisa Harrold has been a vocal advocate for connecting patches of critically endangered native vegetation within the Penrith LGA and the creation of habitat corridors. She has worked tirelessly to ensure the conservation of the Mulgoa Nature Reserve, Mulgoa Creek, Mulgoa’s Fernhill Estate and the Wianamatta Nature Reserve. Lisa’s environmental project work also includes the establishment of the Crossman Reserve Bushcare group, restoration works targeting African Olive at Shale Cliffs, platypus eDNA research with Western Sydney University and many more. In 1995, Lisa founded the Mulgoa Valley Landcare Group, a small group of volunteers who dedicate their time to restoring the bushland of the Mulgoa Valley and the Mid Week Mulgoa Weeders at Mulgoa’s Gow Park. Lisa is also a keen member of the Penrith Council Bushcare volunteer program, dedicating time each month to provide valuable advice, mentor new members and share local history.
2022 Mayor’s Local Heroes: Ditte Kozak
For over 27 years, Ditte Kozak has been working with Nepean Food Services (NFS)/Meals on Wheels, a community service that provides meals and social support for aged people and people living with disability. Today, Ditte is the Manager of NFS and oversees the community hub that helps to provide independence to its clients across Nepean and Warragamba/Silverdale. Ditte works hard to coordinate an incredible cross-section of volunteers who not only help to deliver the meals to clients but also complete a general health and wellbeing check at each visit. NFS would not be able to provide its valuable services without the aid of these volunteers. Ditte is passionate and proud of the work that she performs to help keep people at home, make connections in the community and give people quality of life. Recently, Ditte has been working alongside Penrith Council as a member of their COVID Taskforce, helping to ensure that the community recovers after lockdowns and to build relationships with local businesses and organisations such as Westcare, Nepean Migrant Access, Nepean Volunteer Services, Penrith Seniors and many more.
2022 Community Service Award: David Andersen
Since February 2021, David Andersen has been dedicating his time to Penrith City Council’s Bushcare volunteer program. During this time, David has made a significant contribution, attending over 50 volunteering sessions and amassing over 150 hours to weed removal, planting native species and general site care. David has become a regular attendee at Bushcare’s nature themed events and groups held across Gow Park, Crossman Reserve, Kanangra Reserve, Peppermint Reserve, Wianamatta Reserve, Bellbird Reserve, Clissold Reserve and Mountain View Reserve. Always willing to lend a hand, David works hard to protect Penrith’s natural areas.
2022 Community Service Award: Kenani Banda
Kenani Banda is a leading elder of the Zimbabwe community in Penrith. Kenani volunteers his time to help settle newly arrived Zimbabweans within the local community and provide a ‘soft landing’ to minimise culture shock. In particular, he works regularly with Zimbabwe youth to encourage community relations through sporting programs. In 2009, Kenani and members of his community formed a soccer team under the Penrith Churches Football Club that consisted of both new migrants from Zimbabwe and local players. The soccer team provided the Zimbabwe players with an opportunity to engage with their peers from different cultural backgrounds, practice the language and learn about the Australian way of life. In 2018, Kenani played a pivotal role in bringing together Zimbabwean youths from across Australia and New Zealand for a hugely successful community soccer tournament called Zimpride at Jamison Park. Kenani also dedicates his time as a committee member for Angels of Mercy Welfare Services, an organisation that provide access to social services for Sudanese communities and others.
2022 Community Service Award: Michelle Barnes
Since 2016, Michelle Barnes has been the President of the Jordan Springs Netball Club and a passionate advocate for the club’s growth and success at the Village Oval. During its first year of operation, the club received an overwhelming response from the community with 11 teams registering to play in the Penrith District Netball Association Competition. Since then, the club has continued to go from strength to strength and gain new members thanks to the tireless efforts of Michelle’s work and support from the local community – even through two chaotic seasons during the pandemic. Michelle is known to always lend a hand whether it be grant applications, coaching, registrations, fundraising, canteen or tower duty.
2022 Community Service Award: Alan Fowkes
In 2011, Alan Fowkes, Milton Lazarus and Alan Izzard co-founded the Bass Sydney Fishing Club Bushcare group at Emu Green Reserve. The group dedicates their time to improving the health of our waterways and has been instrumental in transforming the site on the banks of the Nepean River. Alan has provided valuable support and advice for the delivery of grants at the Emu Green Reserve including, the Windsor to Weir project supported by the NSW Environmental Trust grant from 2015 to 2018 and the fish habitat restoration works delivered with funding from the NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries’ Recreation Fishing Trust’s, Habitat Action Grant Program. Alan is also a keen amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds and has conducted numerous bird surveys at the site and documented 102 species and counting.
2022 Community Service Award: Milton Lazarus
In 2011, Alan Fowkes, Alan Izzard and Milton Lazarus co-founded the Bass Sydney Fishing Club Bushcare group at Emu Green Reserve. The group dedicates their time to improving the health of our waterways and has been instrumental in transforming the site on the banks of the Nepean River. In addition to pitching in to help with bush regeneration work, Milton has also coordinated the catering and BBQ cooking duties for hungry helpers. Following Alan Izzard’s retirement, Milton took over as coordinator of the group to help with administration tasks and rallying volunteers. Showing his dedication to Bushcare, Milton has volunteered over 300 hours, attended over 100 sessions and as he lives outside the area, driven more than 9,000 kilometres to not miss the monthly meetups.
2022 Community Service Award: Maria Quartiero
Maria Quartiero is a biological mother of three, adopted mum of one and a foster parent to more than 86 children. Since joining Diamond Women six years ago, Maria has been a case worker for hundreds of women and families in the Penrith area and a chaplain to thousands of students. With a professional and holistic approach, Maria provides person-centred compassionate care that ensures her clients receive optimum support while achieving their personal goals. The diversity in Maria's skillset and life experience has allowed her to connect with an array of clients and has led to many powerful testimonies from people that she has helped over the years. Maria’s work has been pivotal in Diamond Women developing relationships and referral pathways with agencies and services across Penrith to support their clients. Maria played an instrumental role in helping Diamond Women to navigate the recent lockdown period and ensuring clients receive support and care through the pandemic. Maria also volunteers her time as a chaplain with the Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network and at disaster evacuation centres during times of need.
2022 Community Service Award: Vivienne Ross
Following the diagnosis of her husband, Barry, with Parkinson’s disease in 2007, Vivienne Ross made it a priority to educate herself about the disease as quickly as possible. Since then, Vivienne has been a volunteer group leader with the Nepean and Blue Mountains Parkinson's support group run by Parkinson’s NSW. The group is dedicated to helping improve the lives of those with Parkinson’s and their carers. Vivienne’s role is instrumental in generating awareness about the group and the activities they provide including dance and singing classes (to help movement and voice), exercise classes and carers’ lunches. Vivienne also visits other community groups to give talks on Parkinson’s, utilising information and resources provided by Parkinson's NSW to do so. Vivienne and Barry also dedicate their time to be part of a committee run by Parkinson’s NSW to formulate a PD education module for health workers and those with Parkinson’s, and a committee run by Anglicare to make Penrith more dementia friendly.
2022 Community Service Award: Irene Rossetto
When Jamisontown Uniting Church Community Op Shop closed in July this year, more than 300 people came along to farewell the legendary shop and thank dedicated long-time volunteer, Irene Rossetto. For 17 years, visitors to the shop had been greeted by Irene’s kind and generous smile. Irene had welcomed and helped people from all walks of life and circumstances including mums and bubs looking for clothing, toys or a time out; the needy searching for a pair of shoes or a warm coat; customers and charities gathering clothing to send overseas to families; and shop helpers from different cultural backgrounds. In addition to the op shop, the mother of seven has volunteered in a variety of roles within the community including Penrith City Garden Club, Thornton community garden and Nepean Hospital palliative care unit. Later this year, the op shop space will be used for different projects including hosting outreach and support groups which Irene has every intention to volunteer her time with. While the op shop will be sorely missed, Irene’s contributions have made a tremendous impact within our community.
2022 Community Service Award: Jim Ward
Jim Ward has amassed some 1,000 hours of volunteering with Penrith City Council’s Bushcare volunteer program since joining in 2004. Jim’s weed eradication and native plant identification skills are legendary, with many a Bushcare volunteer benefitting from his knowledge of plants and removal of invasive weeds. Jim has documented native species for many reserves through Penrith, Sydney and the Blue Mountains; and some of these lists can be accessed via the Australian Plant Society Glenbrook website. Jim first declared a war on weeds in the 1960s, when he and his brothers started weeding at what’s now known as the Field of Mars Nature Reserve in Ryde. Since then, Jim campaigned to turn the Field of Mars into a nature reserve that’s become home to a wide range of native flora and fauna and even an education centre for schools. Jim’s volunteering efforts with Bushcare are motivated by a goal of weed removal and management which he considers extremely important to the native environment. Over the years, Jim has also volunteered his time with the Penrith and St Marys Police, Anglicare Emergency Services Nepean-Blue Mountains group and the Salvation Army.
Do you know someone who has made a positive impact in our community?
Nominations for the next Local Celebration Awards are now open and we want to hear from you! Visit our Local Celebration Awards web page.