Dedicated Fairfield locals take home Australia Day awards

Honoured: Tom Murphy talking to students at the 2019 Uniting Church Trolley Drive. He was named the worthy recipient of the 2021 Fairfield City Citizen of The Year award. Picture: Simon Bennett
Honoured: Tom Murphy talking to students at the 2019 Uniting Church Trolley Drive. He was named the worthy recipient of the 2021 Fairfield City Citizen of The Year award. Picture: Simon Bennett

Australia Day in Fairfield may have looked a little different this year but it was still a chance to celebrate people have given so much to the community

Uniting Church Trolley Drive organiser Tom Murphy was awarded Fairfield City community's top Australia Day honour, being named the 2021 Fairfield City Citizen of The Year.

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone said the Australia Day Community Awards were held each year to recognise and pay tribute to those who dedicate their time and effort to make Fairfield a better community for all.

"Their dedication and commitment is an example to us all," Cr Carbone said.

"Our winners often go about their business quietly, but I'd like to publicly thank all these community achievers, and recognise their tireless efforts on our special national day."

Mr Murphy has organised the iconic trolley drive to help feed the less fortunate for the past 125 years.

He has worked tirelessly organising food drives at schools, scouts and with the community to help this wonderful cause.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to physically hold the event in 2020, Mr Murphy still organised for food donations to those in need.

He has also helped with fundraising for Little Athletics Fairfield for many years by calling bingo numbers and has helped with Relay for Life fundraising in Fairfield to benefit the Cancer Council.

Cr Carbone said Mr Murphy has never asked for recognition for his work, and is an example of a quiet achiever who is focused on helping others.

"Tom has been very well known to all of us and we all know how hard he was worked for the community. I congratulate him on this honour," Cr Carbone said.

"I also congratulate Emily Khochaba, Aleks Duricic and the Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade on their wonderful achievements."

Fairfield City Mayor Frank Carbone presented four major awards in various categories to outstanding community members at the annual Australia Day Community Awards ceremony held at Prariewood Leisure Centre today.

The winners were:

  • Tom Murphy - Fairfield Citizen of The Year;
  • Emily Khochaba - Young Citizen of The Year;
  • Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade - Volunteer of The Year
  • Aleks Duricic - Sports Achiever of the Year

Also recognised were medallion and certificate recipients in honour of their contribution to the community.

Medallion recipients were:

  • Citizen of the Year: Milan Maksimovic and Hermiz Shahen
  • Young Citizen of the Year: Lina Yokhana.
  • Volunteer of the Year: David David, David Delany and Jenny McNevin.
  • Sports Achiever of the Year Medallion recipients: Michael Di Maria and Nikola Skataric.

Certificate recipients were:

  • Citizen of the Year: Washington Figueredo, Yin Lan Ge, Andrew Marsh, Riccardo Mattiuzzo, Denise Smith and Arthur Watson.
  • Young Citizen of the Year: Isabelle Shamoun Adeh, Thanh Luong, Michael Mijatovic and Nadeen Tomena.
  • Volunteer of the Year: Mark Cavanagh, Marta Faggiano, Kim Mills, Kolivette Va and Atorian Sarkis Zoomalan.
  • Sports Achiever of the Year Certificate recipients: Aiden Banh, Anton Mlinaric and Danilo Mizdrak.

2021 Young Citizen of the Year - Emily Khochaba:

Emily has been a part of her school's Student Representative Committee since she was in Year 8 and enthusiastically takes part in numerous initiatives including the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal, Fairfield Relay for Life, Christmas Trolley Drive and fundraisers such as the Bonnie's Support Services for Domestic Violence and September.

She is also a strong advocate for youth mental health. In 2019 she was elected to be a house captain which led to her being voted in by her peers as school vice-captain in 2020.

2021 Volunteer of the Year - Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade:

Horsley Park RFS made a significant contribution during the 2019-2020 bush fire season keeping our community safe.

Tragically, the Horsley Park Deputy Captain Geoffrey Keaton and Firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer lost their lives fighting the fires.

The brigade and its members and volunteers often spent many days away from their loved ones to fight the catastrophic fires of last year to ensure the safety of others.

The brigade also hosts important community events to provide information for residents to better prepare their homes and families for fires.

2021 Sports Achiever of the Year - Aleks Duricic:

Bossley Park High School student Aleks Duricic has excelled at junior football over a number of years with Sydney FC.

In late 2015, Aleks signed with the Sydney FC Academy and since then has continually been selected in squads including the premiership U16s, U18s and an age up in the U20s. He is currently the captain of the U18s squad.

In 2017, Aleks was selected for the NSW team. In 2021, Aleks will complete his year 12 studies while continuing to play for Sydney FC.