Young's Citizen of the Year Eris Gleeson has called on residents and "the powers that be" to support the community's health workers.
Mr Gleeson was named 2021 Citizen of the Year at the Australia Day ceremony at Town Hall on Tuesday morning.
He said health workers in Young do wonderful work.
"In this extraordinary 12 months we've had surviving the coronavirus I want to give a big shout out to everybody to value our medical workforce. If you're ever sitting around and you hear the medical helicopter evacuating somebody, or if you ever hear an ambulance, rest assured somebody is making very major decisions. There's a hell of a lot of wonderful work going on by medical forces in our community. If the powers that be don't feel we need assistance in supporting our medical workforce then we will wake up one day to find they won't be there," Mr Gleeson said.
Mr Gleeson is founding member of the Hilltops Suicide Prevention Network and Young's Margaret House, providing crisis and emergency accommodation to women, men and children.
He's been involved in a number of community groups including Young Theatre Company Inc, Young Neighbourhood Centre now the Hilltops Community Hub, Mercy Care Centre Young, Hennessy Parents and Friends committee, St Mary's Pastoral Council, and Young Yabbies Rugby Union Football Club.
Mr Gleeson said Young is a "wonderful community".
"We are so fortunate that there are so many community groups and so many individuals who frequently with no fanfare at all provide the connectedness and the support that make it such a wonderful community," Mr Gleeson said.
He thanked his family and work friends for their support, allowing him to pursue interests with various community groups.
"No one manages to pursue their interests in those various groups without support of your nearest and dearest and work colleagues. My work colleagues have been wonderful, they've allowed me time to attend to these activities and they've helped by doing things which I should have done. Of course, my own family have been a wonderful support," Mr Gleeson said.
Hilltops mayor Brian Ingram said "Eris is a truly great Australian".
"He is proud to be a member of this community, he has an infectious let's have a go attitude, a sense of what's right and fair, a genuine appreciation of people and a desire to be involved and willingness to give back to the community," mayor Ingram said.
The ceremony was streamed on Hilltops Council's Facebook page.
Those in attendance had to pre-register due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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