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Gannawarra Australia Day citizens recognised

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An emergency services leader and a passionate musician have taken out Gannawarra Shire Council’s 2023 Australia Day Awards.

Kerang Fire Brigade captain Ramon Steel was named Gannawarra Shire Council’s Citizen of the Year, and Deaken Fawcett presented with Council’s Young Citizen of the Year Award.

“It feels great,” said Deaken.

“You don’t really do it for the award or anything, but it does feel nice when you’re recognised, and it shows that all the efforts you’ve done, people do notice what you’re doing in the community.”

18-year-old Deaken has a passion for music and has been a member of the Summerwave Music Festival organising committee for the past two years, which has led to Gannawarra Shire hosting musicians from regional and metro areas.

Deaken loves to see local musicians given the opportunity to grow their talents.

“I think it’s (music) great. Me personally playing a lot, but also giving other people a chance.

“Just seeing people build their confidence by performing, people who might not have had an opportunity to perform.”

Deaken has been able to obtain funding through Northern District Community Health’s (NDCH) Victorian Government Freeza programs to hold events for the youth of Gannawarra.

“I just think that if someone local is stepping out of their comfort zone or doing something new for them, it’s really good for the community to get around.

“When music’s live, it’s much more real than just say, having a DJ or having people playing music on Spotify or something. It’s someone who can actually interact with the audience.

“I think Australia Day is different for everyone.

“Personally, I feel like Australia Day is a time to reflect on myself and family and who we are as a people.

“We might have a barbecue or something, but when we celebrate Australia Day, we’re thankful for the country we’re in.

“We’re in a great country and a great part of the world, and we’re surrounded by great people.

“I’d like to thank my mum and dad for encouraging me, and definitely Matt Allen and Molly Meadows from NDCH for giving me the opportunities that I’ve had in the past two years.

“I’ve been able to get out in the community and really do things that I love, and they’ve kind of really pushed me in a direction I never thought I would go, and I’m really loving it. Now, I’m actually looking into a career being a youth worker or doing something community based.”

Gannawarra Shire Council’s Citizen of the Year, Kerang Fire Brigade captain Ramon Steel was humbled by the award.

“It’s been 40 years of firefighting and a few big campaigns,” said Ramon.

“It’s an honour to be nominated, and then to actually win it is humbling.

“I’m only one of the team, even though I’m the leader, without them you can’t do it by yourself.”

Ramon’s firefighting career has seen him take on some of Kerang’s biggest challenges, the blazes that destroyed the historic Gilbert Club Hotel in 2009, the fire that badly damaged the Kerang Hotel in 2013 and the floods of 2011 and 2022.

“You don’t join the organisation to win something, when it comes along it is nice.

“I’d like to pass on my thanks to those who nominated me, my fellow nominees and the Gannawarra Shire Council for seeing fit to give the award out.”

The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper 26 January 2023

This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 26 January 2023.


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