Council names Citizen, Youth Citizen of the Year

Let’s hear a round of applause for the 2020 Southern Downs Citizen of the Year and Southern Downs Youth Citizen of the Year winners – Sandra Head and Ben Armbruster.

The Southern Downs Regional Council has said “thank you and well done” to Sandra and Ben and “acknowledges their valued dedication and service to the community with the announcement”.

Mayor Tracy Dobie congratulated all the nominees and the award winners for the roles they play in supporting their community.

“The volunteers within our community contribute towards making the Southern Downs and Granite Belt the wonderful place that it is to live,” Cr Dobie said.

“All of the nominees and the award winners have collectively made valuable and selfless contributions to the community and are worthy of recognition.

“Our region is very fortunate to have so many community members who work behind the scenes to dedicate their personal time without seeking recognition, and the Australia Day Awards provide the opportunity for us to say ‘thank you and well done’.”

The 2020 Australia Day Award winners will be honoured at ceremonies in both Stanthorpe and Warwick this Australia Day, Sunday 26 January.

• Sandra Head, Southern Downs Citizen of the Year…

A tireless pursuit of community service and volunteering has seen Sandra Head awarded the 2020 Southern Downs Citizen of the Year.

Sandra is a dedicated and active member of a number of community groups and generously spreads her time across the Southern Downs Community Crisis Support Group, the Warwick Bridge Club, the Rotary Club of Warwick Sunrise and Warwick Friends of BUSHkids.

Sandra’s extensive experience in early childcare education has steered her towards volunteer work with BUSHkids.

“I did lots of volunteering after hours helping schools out. From there I started with Rotary and later also joined BUSHkids, which tied in well with my earlier work with early childhood learning,” Sandra said.

“I’m more than happy to take on roles with my clubs and committees.

“I enjoy helping people and being of use.”

Sandra generously provides administrative support two days a week in the BUSHkids office and helps staff with planning playgroups and story time through her extensive knowledge of nursery rhymes, finger play, poems and songs. Sandra recently donated her time to conduct site visits to State Schools to assess location suitability for mobile BUSHkids ekindy pods.

Sandra’s comprehensive childhood education knowledge and experience was advantageously used to develop the checklists and processes for the stand-alone care pods. Sandra has also been a productive member of the Warwick Friends of BUSHkids (FOBK) since it began and has also held the position of president and secretary. Her role in FOBK involved co-ordinating fundraising and public relations events such as the first BUSHkids dinner, the BUSHkids Golf Day, the BUSHkids Dance and a Read and Grow community education.

Sandra has also been elected the President of the inaugural Southern Downs Community Crisis Support Group. This group collectively coordinates the efforts of all charities and services in the region to provide support for farmers. This involves co-ordinating the aid which is coming into the district from near and far.

• Ben Armbruster, Southern Downs Youth Citizen of the Year

Southern Downs’ very own swimming sensation and sportsman-to-watch, 17-year-old Ben Armbruster has been named Southern Downs Youth Citizen of the Year.

Ben’s mother Shannon said the family was thrilled to receive the news of Ben’s win.

“It’s been such a huge year, so many miles travelled, but it’s been an amazing year for Ben,” she said.

“In the last few months, Ben has qualified for the Australian Age Swimming Championships, the Australian Open Swimming Championships and the trials for the Tokyo Olympics, so 2020 will be even bigger!”

In August 2019 Ben was named the Queensland team’s Male Swimmer of the Meet at the School Sport Australia 13-19 years Swimming Championships, where he brought home an amazing 10 medals from 11 events.

Ben’s successful sports pursuits extend beyond the pool and are not confined to lane ropes, with him supporting a number of local and regional events. Last year Ben represented the region as guest athlete and speaker at the 2019 Junior Excellence Swimming Development Clinic in Toowoomba.

Ben also gives back to the community and has volunteered at local Blue Light discos, school fundraising events and swim-a-thons for the Cancer Council in honour of Elaine Goebel – a former grandparent of swimmers in the Stanthorpe Swimming Club.

Ben is well known for his caring, encouraging and supportive disposition.

The 2020 Australia Day Awards winners will be recognised together with the region’s newest citizens at the following events:


Date: Sunday 26 January 2020

Time: 9am – 10am

Venue: Warwick Town Hall


Date: Sunday 26 January 2020

Time: 4pm to 5pm

Venue: Weeroona Park

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