Awards honour outstanding locals
THE Gold Coast's wildlife has a good friend in 2012's Citizen of the Year.
Founder of the ABC and Wildlife Trauma Centre Trish Wimberly took out the top gong at the annual Gold Coast City Council Australia Day Awards.
Mayor Ron Clarke said the awards were all about recognising and celebrating the city's outstanding community members and organisations.
"It is so pleasing that our community has embraced the challenge of looking after our environment as shown by this year's recipients of the Gold Coast Citizen of the Year and the Environmental Achievement Award," Cr Clarke said.
Mrs Wimberly and her husband provide medical care to all species of sick, injured and orphaned bats and Australian native fauna.
Since 2000 their not-for-profit organisation has rescued most of the non-domesticated animals injured on the Coast's roads.
The centre's operation requires a 24/7 commitment, houses up to 500 animals and is well deserving of Mrs Wimberly's accolade.
Inspiring entrepreneur Monique Jeremiah is the Coast's Young Citizen of the Year.
The 25 year old is sole director and owner of three successful companies: Exceptional Group, Exceptional Tuition and Resumes and her latest project Exceptional Training.
Retired Vietnam Veteran Doug Henderson, who established the Kokoda Challenge Association, won the Gold FM Community Service Award.
The association raises funds through Australia's toughest endurance trekking event.
It is also behind the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program in which 268 young people have passed through a 14 month experiential course to improve their fitness and walk the Kokoda Track.
Participants devote their final six months to a community service project.
The Cultural Achievement Award went to rabbit + cocoonsic, whose co-directors Emma Milikins, Mariam Arcilla and Jolie Hertzberg founded the not-for-profit multi-arts hub providing artists and collectives with spaces and resources in 2010.
It is the second award for Ms Hertzberg, who last year was named Young Citizen of the Year.
The Environmental Achievement Award has gone to Mark Tierney, who since 1999 has worked tirelessly to protect the Nerang River waterways and set up the Kirkendale Bush Care Group which planted more than 20,000 trees and shrubs in a creek corridor and river catchment.
The Sports Achievement Award went to three time World Ironman title holder Shannon Eckstein.
Iconic Gold Coast bikini pioneer, 91 year old Paula Stafford was honoured with the prestigious Gold Coast Legend Award.
This is the second year the Gold Coast Legend Award has been included in the Australia Day Awards.
Paula Stafford's name is woven into the fabric of Gold Coast beach culture.
She is largely credited with introducing the bikini to Australian beaches at a time when modesty prevailed over fashion and comfort.
The 2012 Australia Day Awards ceremony were hosted Friday morning by Mayor Ron Clarke at a special breakfast celebration at the Arts Centre Gold Coast.