AFTER a demanding year for the Kiama SES Unit, one of its members has been named Kiama's Citizen of the Year.
Rescue officer Warren Turner was humbled to receive the honour at a ceremony on Thursday.
Described by Diann Rodgers-Healey, the woman who nominated him, as "consistent and relentless", Mr Turner said that assessment was true of the unit.
"I'm really proud that someone's taken account of the work we do," he said.
"It's not just me, it's the whole team."
Mr Turner joined the SES nine years ago once his work as a software developer allowed him the flexibility to be involved.
"I grew up as a Scout and I enjoyed the Scouting movement but my career took priority," he said. "I always wanted to join the SES. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner."
During those years, Mr Turner has taken part in storm recoveries, including 70 hours in the aftermath of last year's tornadoes, motor vehicle accident responses, rescues and training the unit.
"I like to see recruits grow and develop their skills," he said.
"Some go further into the fire brigade and it's great to see their careers blossom."
The highlight of his SES service came in 2011 when he led the unit to place second at the National Disaster Rescue Competition, but he said the most rewarding part was being able to help people in need.
"The smile they give you makes you go a hundred more yards," he said.
While motor vehicle accidents were often the most difficult to respond to, Mr Turner said a call to an overturned milk truck, which had crushed a car at Broughton Creek two years ago, had an unexpected result.
"The report was that there was one fatality so we were going with heavy hearts, but then we took the roof off and there she was," she said.
"There was a bit of blood out of her arm, but otherwise she was perfectly all right."
At the ceremony, Mr Turner thanked his wife, Lisa, for her support.
Meanwhile, Sally Fitzgibbons was named Young Citizen of the Year and was also inducted on to the Sports Honour Roll for her surfing achievements and ambassador roles with NSW Police, NSW Surf Life Saving and Kiama Tourism.
She said growing up in the municipality taught her the values of never giving up, having a go and believing anything was possible.
"A lot of competitors I came up against were in the high-end academies from the city and had the most expensive training equipment that, deep down, I was a little jealous of, but being down here was where I honed my skills, where I learned to train myself to the highest level," she said.
"To instil those values from a young age to absolutely go for it, I think that's one of my best attributes as an athlete today."
She said the dual honour was special and while her career was still beginning, she hoped to inspire others.
She also thanked the area's community and school sport volunteers for their support.
"I knew it would have to be one sport to focus on, but every one of them gave me more armour - everything I did in soccer or touch has shaped me."
The other Sports Honour Roll inductee was Professor John Bloomfield, who represented Kiama nationally in surf life saving in the '50s before becoming an academic. He is an emeritus professor at the University of Western Australia.
The Australia Day Community Arts Award was presented to Bobbi Miller for her efforts bringing the Lloyd Rees Festival to life last year, while the Australia Day Sports Award went to Emily Robinson for her representation nationally in athletics.
Four Kiama Council achievement awards were also presented. The Community Achievement award went to Chris Moore for his work with the Kiama Surf Life Saving Club, Kiama Lions and Knights of the Southern Cross.
Former Kiama High School student Gwilym Price won the Scholastic Achievement award.
He was dux for 2013, placing first in chemistry, physics and engineering, with 100 per cent attendance in 2013.
The Youth Achievement award went to Sarah-Jayne Forrest for her involvement in netball for athletes with intellectual disabilities, captaining the NSW team in 2012-13.
Kiama-Jamberoo RSL Sub-Branch president and Blue Haven committee member Ian Pullar was awarded for Services to the Aged for helping the branch's members with transport, shopping and funerals, as well as his role in the Hindmarsh Park memorial wall.
For more pictures see kiamaindependent.com.au.