Awards Honour Albury's Finest

A champion for cancer fundraising, a Xavier High School student, a tireless worker in volunteer services and a determined community service club have topped the honours at this year's Albury Awards.

The recipients were announced at today’s AlburyCity Australia Day celebrations on the banks of the Murray River at Noreuil Park.

The winners are:

Citizen of the Year: Carl Friedlieb
Young Citizen of the Year:  Emma Aldrich
Community Group of the Year: Border Relay for Life
Volunteer of the Year:  Loretta Buchhorn

A Special Mayoral Award has also been awarded to Jaara Moran for helping to promote a positive representation of young Aboriginal people in the community.

"The Albury Awards are an opportunity to thank our most selfless and hardworking citizens and community groups. They don't do it for reward, but it's important that we acknowledge the work of people who give so much to our community," Mayor Cr Kevin Mack said.

"Each year more than six million Australians participate in voluntary work, amassing over 700 million hours of community service. It's an incredible statistic and underlines the amazing work that these unsung Australian heroes do to make local communities like our own here in Albury such great places to live," he said.

"For every award recipient there are of course many others who are equally deserving. I'd like to congratulate all of this year's nominees and recipients who have gone above and beyond in the name of our city."

Citizen of the Year –  Carl Friedlieb
Carl has been the voluntary Chairman of the Border Relay For Life since 2012 and has helped inspire over 14,000 residents to participate in the event. This gives the border community a unique opportunity to come together as one to celebrate those who have won their battle with cancer, to remember loved ones lost and to fight back by raising vital funds and awareness. Carl goes above and beyond making sure those involved in the event are warmly welcomed into the relay family and he is an inspiration to the 23 committee members who enjoy coming together to create the event. He has helped make the event what it is today, the messaging, positive energy and sense of hope that he has created for the event is what inspires so many cancer patients, survivors, families and the general community to take to the track each year.

Young Citizen of the Year -  Emma Aldrich
Emma Aldrich has excelled in volunteer and support work in several different areas. She has served as the President of Xavier High School’s St Vincent De Paul organisation motivating other students to be involved in various charities through fundraising. She is a worker for Meals on Wheels, volunteers at the Kalumburu Catholic Mission, Red Cross, Riverina ASPECT School for Autism and has volunteered at three orphanages in Thailand. She was presented with the Dame Marie Bashir Peace Award at Parliament House in Sydney for her efforts in promoting social justice and harmony. Dux of Xavier High at the end of 2015, Emma will begin her nursing degree at Charles Sturt University in 2017 following a gap year involving charitable and volunteer work.

Volunteer of the Year –  Loretta Buchhorn
Loretta has volunteered in the Albury community for over three decades, has a genuine passion for people and contributes willingly to the enabling of sporting associations, not-for-profit organisations and charities in the region. Her most recent achievement has been the involvement in establishing and coordinating the Sam Baker Community Fund. She is an active committee member of the Survivors of Suicide and Friends group and assists with elevating the profile of its Winter Solstice event. Loretta helped facilitate and coordinate the first Camp Quality camps in Albury-Wodonga (1989-1991) and has been an active member of Anaphylaxis Australia, serving on the national committee. She is truly inspirational and generous.

Community Group of the Year – Border Relay for Life
Members of the Committee for Relay for Life volunteer countless hours of their time during the months leading up to the Border Relay for Life held annually. For 2016, the Committee inspired over 2,800 participants to unite as one community in the fight against cancer, bringing hope to local cancer patients and their families. Funds raised from the event have supported the local community by way of prevention programs and services such as the ‘Transport to Treatment’ patient car launched in mid-2016 providing free transport for cancer patients living in the Albury region and the ‘Improve your Long Game’ providing sun protection, safety and healthy messaging to those aged 40 plus. In addition, funds raised from Border Relay for Life go towards the Cancer Council NSW to assist with research projects. The border event is acknowledged as the largest Relay for Life in Australia.

Special Mayoral Award – Jaara Moran
Jaara’s leadership skills have helped to promote a positive representation of Aboriginal young people in the community. He has involved himself in many school, sport and community activities. He is an active participant in the St Vincent group, house leader, volunteer for NAIDOC day activities and Year 7 camp leader. Jaara is passionate about athletics and sport winning eight out of nine track and field events at last year’s carnival. He represented Xavier High School in the NSW All Schools AFL Championships in Sydney gaining a place in the NSW All Schools Team. Jaara is a key member of AlburyCity’s Aboriginal Youth Committee responsible for coordinating events and programs for young people in the Albury/Wodonga area and is NSW Aboriginal Student of the Year for the Albury Electorate 2016.