HORSHAM’S Young Citizen of the Year for 2015 plans to devote his career to youth well-being.
Greg McKinnon, 19, has completed his Certificate IV at Bible College and hopes to secure a role as a secondary school chaplain.
Mr McKinnon said his Australia Day accolade came as a surprise.
‘‘I wasn’t focused on trying to win it,’’ he said.
‘‘I was just doing my thing and then I got a phone call from Mayor Mark Radford telling me I’d won, which was pretty cool.’’
Cr Radford said Mr McKinnon was a remarkable young community leader with many talents.
‘‘He is an active member of the Horsham Harvest Church Youth Group, including the Young Gunz leadership skills program,’’ he said.
‘‘Greg is involved with Nexus Youth Group and the Horsham Special School, and has taken a lead role in the co-ordination of the Horsham College chaplaincy book fair.’’
Cr Radford said Mr McKinnon had also been a member of council’s Youth Matters committee, was involved with Carols by Candlelight in 2013 and was part of Horsham Arts Council’s production of Godspell.
‘‘In 2012, Greg was the recipient of the Rotary Club of Horsham East Citizenship Award and in 2011, he was awarded the Horsham College Alexander Noel Glancy Scholarship,’’ he said.
Mr McKinnon said he loved being involved in programs that supported and motivated students, such as the Youth Alive school tour and Horsham College’s breakfast program.
The Operation 19:14 Family Fun Day is the 2015 Community Event of the Year.
Cr Radford said the joint church initiative, which provided a free day out for Wimmera families, was a deserving recipient.
‘‘We congratulate the organising committee on this highly successful and extremely well-run community event,’’ he said.
‘‘This event has been running for four years, with more than 1300 children registered in 2014.’’
Operation 19:14 organiser Mark Busbridge said the committee felt honoured to receive the award.
‘‘I heard a few people had nominated us and we are very humbled by that,’’ he said.
Mr Busbridge said the committee consisted of about seven people from four Horsham churches.
‘‘One of the main thrusts behind Operation 19:14 is bringing people together for a common purpose and giving families a really good day out,’’ he said.
‘‘We’d like to give a big thank you to everybody who has supported it in the past few years, including the sponsors, because without them it wouldn’t be possible.’’