LIONS Club of New Norfolk president Kerry Kievit and emergency services volunteer Adrian James are the joint Derwent Valley Citizens of the Year for 2022. This is only the third time in the 54-year history of the local Australia Day Awards that the title of Citizen of the Year was awarded to dual recipients.
Mr James has been a member of the Derwent Valley Concert Band since 1998. He also volunteers with the Lachlan Fire Brigade and Derwent Valley State Emergency Service and has leadership roles with both organisations. Mr James, 37, lives at New Norfolk with his wife Amanda and their three children. He has worked at Hobart’s Nyrstar zinc smelter for 14 years and the family has lived in and around New Norfolk for 15 years.
In 1998, with the encouragement of his high school brass teacher Adrian joined the Derwent Valley Concert Band. He has since traveled overseas with the band on five occasions and performs with the band at community events such as Australia Day, Anzac Day, the Christmas Carols and many more. It was through the band that he met his wife Amanda.
In December 2002, Mr James joined the Brighton Fire Brigade. He then transferred to the Lachlan brigade after moving into the area in 2005. He now holds the rank of second officer and this role allows him to assist with mentoring members and leadership of the brigade. In 2019, he was selected to fly interstate to help fight wildfires in Queensland. In 2021 he put his hand up to be trained in remote-area firefighting. This specialised training will allow him to represent the brigade and the state when called upon to fight fires in remote locations.
In 2012, after attending a car crash with the fire brigade, Adrian saw Derwent Valley State Emergency Service members rescue a person from a crashed car and decided to join that group as well. He is now a team leader and assists the community in this capacity by attending car crashes, community events and storm damage events.
Accepting his award at the Derwent Valley Australia Day observance at New Norfolk on Wednesday, Mr James thanked his family said he would not be able do what he does without their support. “I’d also like to thank my peers and fellow service members and band members for their support and mentoring, and for allowing me to help train them up and give them support as well,” he said.
“We’re all one big team and without all the other members and volunteers, we would not be able to do the things we do for the community,” Mr James said.
The 2022 joint Citizen of the Year Kerry Kievit and her husband Michael moved to the Derwent Valley in 2016 to be nearer to their children who had moved here several years earlier. Mrs Kievit had retired early due to symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
At that time Mrs Kievit was already involved in volunteering with MS and continued this when she moved. She soon became a facilitator for several peer-based support groups, including one-on-one support. In 2017, Kerry and Michael joined the Lions Club of New Norfolk. They decided this was a good way to get to know the community while also giving back.
Mrs Kievit soon found herself in a leadership role within the club, first as secretary and for the last 18 months as president. She has been a big advocate of collaboration between community organisations. It is her belief that in some instances, community organisations can achieve more by working together. Kerry makes herself available for most of the club’s projects, from cooking a sausage sizzle to cooking breakfast on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Accepting her award, Mrs Kievit congratulated the other award recipients and nominees. “You’re already a winner when you’re recognised by your community just by being nominated,” she said. “And I’d like to thank the community of the Derwent Valley in general. We moved here six years ago and we joined the Lions Club of New Norfolk so that so that we can connect with the community in a positive way,” she said.
“The community has accepted us very easily, which in some small communities is very hard for locals to do, but the Derwent Valley community really does rally behind those that live here,” Mrs Kievit said.
Tomorrow: Meet the Young Citizen of the Year and the Sportsperson of the Year.