Australia Day: Leading citizens acknowledged

Craig Youd accepting his award.

THE award for Derwent Valley Citizen of the Year has been shared by a local teacher and a successful businessman, and an award for local Senior Citizen of the Year has been presented for the first time.

Craig Youd and Justin Derksen were named as the first joint-winners of Citizen of the Year during the Derwent Valley Australia Day celebration on Sunday. John Geraghty was named Senior Citizen of the Year.

Mr Youd has spent three decades at New Norfolk as a teacher and also serving as assistant principal for many years. He has supported students in extra-curricular activities and community events such as Anzac and Remembrance Days, New Norfolk Christmas Parade and Light the Night, and as a chaperone on mainland tours.

Accepting the award, Mr Youd acknowledged all the staff of New Norfolk High School, past and present, who had also given up many hours of their own time to support students in extra-curricular activities.

“Perhaps I’m remembered simply because I’ve been here forever but there are many, many other staff who have done the same thing,” Mr Youd said, adding that the school was very well run. “We are doing the best we possibly can for the youth of New Norfolk and we hope to have your assistance in doing that in the future. So, thank you very much.”

Justin Derksen addressing the crowd.

Mr Derksen’s award recognised the contribution his family business Crusader Homes is having on the Derwent Valley, both as an employer of 15 people and the winner of multiple awards during the last year, including being named the Small Employer of the year at the Australian Training Awards.

Outside of work, he has also been a leader in the Australian Army Cadets for many years and was promoted to major last year.

Addressing the crowd after accepting his citizenship award, Mr Derksen said he was a firm believer in family, friends, community and love. “And from most of those origins, we can fix most of our problems,” he said.

A recent review of the Derwent Valley Council’s Australia Day Awards policy resulted in the introduction of a Senior Citizen award and John Geraghty of Bushy Park is the inaugural recipient.

John Geraghty.

Mr Geraghty has given decades of voluntary service to the community since moving to the Derwent Valley as a young man more than 40 years ago.

He is valued by his peers for his reliability, deep local knowledge, handiness, kindness and dedication to charitable works.

Not-for-profit organisations that Mr Geraghty remains engaged with today include the Bushy Park Show Society for 39 years as a committee member, life member and ground keeper.  He has been a member of the Independent Order of Oddfellows’ Loyal Glenora Lodge for 36 years, and a member of the New Norfolk RSL for more than 30 years.

Congratulations Craig, Justin and John.

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