Frankston City’s most inspirational residents were honoured at the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony and Citizen of the Year Awards today (Tuesday 26 January).
Frankston City Council Mayor, Kris Bolam, announced the winners at the Frankston Arts Centre event, where 33 people received their Australian citizenship.
The Mayor said Australia had a rich history of success stories from people who had moved to the Country and thrived, going on to do great things.
“Here at Council, two of my colleagues immigrated from overseas: Deputy Mayor, Cr Nathan Conroy from Ireland and Cr Sue Baker from England.
“Both gained their citizenship and became Councillors, representing and contributing to our local community. Our City provides so many wonderful opportunities for its residents and I’m sure today’s 33 new citizens will prove no exception.”
Recipients of the 2021 Citizen of the Year Awards are:
2021 Citizen of the Year - Timothy Cutrona
2021 Senior Citizen of the Year - Robert Thurley
2021 Young Citizen of the Year - Kai Malcolm
2021 Community Event of the Year - Chill Out & Look About
(Sarah Bahramis and Sarah-Jane Balharry)
Each year Council invites Frankston City community members to nominate fellow citizens whose generous contributions enrich local lives.
Citizen of the Year - Timothy Cutrona
The contributions of this year’s Citizen of the Year, Timothy Cutrona, have quite literally saved lives. Tim has been a member of the Frankston Life Saving Club since 2011 and President of the Club since 2013.
Tim is a hands on president, teaching nippers and captaining a patrol group. Although he has a demanding day-job as a project manager, Tim also finds time to promote local tourism and beach safety and to support young people with self-defence classes.
Frankston City Mayor, Kris Bolam, congratulated Tim on his well-deserved award.
“Tim’s passion and dedication to the safety of the Frankston City community is second to none,” the Mayor said.
“No task is too big and he is always on hand to support to water safety events throughout the year, as well as empowering young people to connect with the community and each other.”
Cr Bolam added that Tim’s hard work, dedication and love of the community had made him a very worthy recipient of this award and a role model for future generations.
Tim credited his upbringing, his parents and mentors for inspiring him to give back to the community and said he hoped his contributions would encourage others to do the same.
“My hope for Frankston City is that the next generation will have the same opportunities I did to be engaged with the community.
“I had wonderful mentors through Scouts, karate and motorbike riding and I want my legacy to be providing young people the same access to those opportunities. That is why it is important to give back,” Tim said.
Community Event of the Year - Chill Out & Look About
Those involved in the 2021 Community Event of the Year, the ‘Chill Out & Look About’ road safety campaign, share Tim’s passion for the community and saving lives.
The campaign was conceived to honour the memory of Frankston High School (FHS) year nine student, Dylan Briggs, who tragically lost his life last March when he was struck by a car while riding home from school.
It was created by Dylan’s FHS LEAD class (a select entry class for students who demonstrate high integrity and leadership abilities) and supported by FHS Director of student leadership and community engagement, Sarah Bahramis, and Dylan’s family, including his mother, Sarah-Jane Balharry.
It aims to improve road safety awareness for all road users and eliminate road fatalities through a website with free and comprehensive teacher resource packs, a powerful road safety video and an ongoing social media campaign.
The teaching resources have already been downloaded hundreds of times, the video has received 30,000 views and the students are planning interactive workshops to provide school-aged children the opportunity to learn about road safety in greater detail.
They will also advocate for an upgraded system for teaching learner-drivers so everyone has access to the same quality and comprehensive driver training.
LEAD teacher, Sarah Bahramis, said students and the school were overwhelmed and humbled by the honour and the recognition of their cause.
“Road trauma affects so many people and we don’t want anyone else to go through what we, and Sarah-Jane, have been through,” she said.
Sarah-Jane said the campaign had helped everyone involved to grieve and given her hope, strength and a purpose.
“The award is bitter-sweet. It brings me a sense of peace that Dylan didn’t pass away in vain. I’m in awe of the LEAD group ─ the students and the teachers like Sarah. My gratitude is amplifying all the time.
“This also tells me our community wants to listen to our young people and that their message will be heard so we should provide them the platforms to share their voice.”
Sarah-Jane added, “there is a Jewish saying, ‘When you save one life, you save the world entire,’ and I hope that is what we are doing.”
Young Citizen of the Year - Kai Malcolm
The 2021 Young Citizen of the Year, Kai Malcolm, was also nominated for his work towards making the Chill Out & Look About campaign a success.
Kai is passionate about web development and used his skills to create the website and social media pages for the campaign.
“This award is special and I am grateful to have been nominated. It is nice to put my skills into something valuable which will be seen and make a difference.
“I hope the campaign will inspire people to be more thoughtful on the road, especially around pedestrians. There is no need to rush; if you’re late, you’re late,” Kai said.
The Mayor said, at 15 years of age, Kai had shown maturity beyond his years to produce such successful marketing materials while grieving the loss of his classmate.
“Kai, I commend you for your poise and dedication. You are a talented young man and we are lucky to have you here in Frankston City. I am excited to see what your future brings.
“Thank you, your classmates, your teachers and Sarah-Jane for your strength and contributions,” Cr Bolam said.
“Dylan’s devastating loss was felt throughout our community and I sincerely commend his family and friends for creating such a valuable campaign during a severely difficult time. I don’t doubt it will save lives.”
The Mayor also thanked the City’s frontline emergency services and health care workers, and volunteers for their efforts.
“We sincerely appreciate the selfless way you dedicate your time and resources to improve our community and in particular, the way you have continued to do so despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Council intends to host a civic reception for our local emergency services workers later in the year, once restrictions have eased,” Cr Bolam said.
Senior Citizen of the Year - Robert Thurley
Another worthy recipient of the City’s thanks is 2021 Senior Citizen of the Year, Robert Thurley. Robert has lived in Frankston City his entire life and been a pillar of the local community for the majority of that time.
He has undertaken many leadership roles in volunteer organisations and demonstrated unwavering determination to improve the local community and environment.
He has directed and produced four Frankston Music Festivals and has served more than 40 years on the Kananook Creek Association, which was a proud recipient of the Victorian Volunteers Award in 2005.
The Mayor said Robert’s work had undoubtedly improved the health, potential and accessibility of Kananook Creek, a well-loved natural asset of Frankston City.
“As current Vice President and a former President of the Kananook Creek Association, Robert has vigorously advocated for Kananook Creek and his contributions to Frankston City are invaluable. Thank you Robert.”
Cr Bolam added that Council was looking forward to continuing to work alongside Robert and everyone at the KCA to achieve the full potential of the creek.
Robert said he was motivated to give back by his parents, who were also recognised for their local contributions.
“The last 42 years have been a pleasure and I want to acknowledge the late Allan and Yvonne Sisson whose work cleaning up the creek and creating these reserves and walking tracks inspired 400 people, including myself.
“Although to say ‘I love Frankston’ sounds corny, I do, and I want to try and inspire people to share their skills for the betterment of our community.
“We are just the people who are here for this short period of time; the creek will be here for thousands of years and I believe we have a duty to leave the country in a better position for future generations.”