House debates

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Ryan Electorate: Australia Day Local Hero Awards

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week I had the privilege of presenting six local heroes in my electorate with an Australia Day award to recognise their efforts within the Ryan electorate. The Ryan Australia Day Local Hero Awards give residents the opportunity to nominate someone who they believe has gone above and beyond for our community. We have some incredible local residents in the Ryan electorate, and I want to take the opportunity to ensure these Aussie heroes are given the recognition they deserve.

The first to be nominated was Dan Whelan of Keperra. It's hard to know where to start with Dan. He is such a warrior for our local community and continues to devote countless hours to not-for-profit organisations. He is a prominent volunteer of the Gaythorne RSL and previously served as director of their management board. He is an ongoing volunteer at the Mitchie Day Club, a not-for-profit seniors' socialisation program that provides essential social interaction for elderly residents who need it most. Throughout the COVID pandemic, Dan stayed in regular contact with senior Australians to ensure that they did not feel isolated. He is also a regular volunteer at the Picabeen Community Association, the Brisbane Bunya Lions Christmas lights committee and has volunteered for the 129 Army Cadet Unit at the Gallipoli Barracks in Enoggera. He is truly selfless.

Also nominated were Holly and Charli Garrity—or the Wacky Wildlife Sisters, as they are called. Holly and Charli are just 10 and 12 years old and they are passionate wildlife conservationists and environmentalists. As part of the Visionary Wildlife Warriors program, they have been working tirelessly to raise funds in their own unique way to help out sick and injured wildlife, and inspiring others to get involved in conservation.

Scott Rimington was also nominated for an Australia Day award. Scott volunteers for the Bardon Girl Guides by maintaining the buildings and grounds. He also stepped up recently as Treasurer temporarily. He became an active member because of his granddaughter Evie, who joined the Guides. I know, from meeting the whole family recently, that they very much enjoy the time that they spend together as part of that involvement.

Helen Capern of Moggill was nominated for her work setting up the foodbank at the Moggill Uniting Church. She saw a need during COVID to help those less fortunate than herself. She has continued to run the foodbank to help and support the families to access it.

Last but not least was Merle Heiner. Merle is a local historian at the Enogerra and Districts Historical Society. When speaking with Merle, I was captivated by her stories of the local community. She has been involved in the historical society for a long time. She is a passionate member of our local community and she is passionate about preserving our local history.

All of these residents have gone above and beyond for their community. None of them volunteered because of the recognition, but they all deserve the recognition of our local community for the way that they have selflessly helped others and the way that they have poured their heart and soul into making the Ryan electorate a fantastic place to live and to raise a family. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all these wonderful people recognised by the Ryan Australia Day Local Hero Awards.