Gold Coast icon and Chief Lifeguard Warren Young was last night named Citizen of the Year at the annual City of Gold Coast Australia Day Awards.
Mr Young, who joined the professional lifeguard service in 1973, is one of the city’s most recognised residents, credited with our lifeguard service becoming the first in Australia to use jet skis for rescues.
Mayor Tom Tate said the award celebrated Mr Young’s long and impressive career with the city.
“He is a dead-set Gold Coast legend. There are few Gold Coasters more loved or recognised than Warren. His contribution to our city is significant,” Mayor Tate said.
The awards recognise excellence in community service, sporting, environmental and cultural endeavours, as well as Gold Coast Citizen of the Year and Gold Coast Young Citizen of the Year.
“Each of these citizens has helped make the Gold Coast an even greater place to live.
“This is our way of thanking these local legends for their ongoing commitment to the coast – your hard work and dedication to our city does not go unnoticed.”
Teenager Elijah Palmer was named Young Citizen of the Year. The 16-year-old, who attends Mudgeeraba State Special School, was recognised for his commitment to wheelchair racing. Mr Palmer received five gold medals at the Queensland Schools Championships in 2019, and despite Covid restrictions last year, continued to train vigorously, setting numerous personal best times, and staying connected with the wheelchair racing community via Zoom.
The Community Service award went to veteran and Secretary of the North Gold Coast RSL Sub-Branch Melanie Annand. Ms Annand provides administrative and life support for the veterans in the Northern Gold Coast community. As someone who lives with injuries from active service, she understands the importance of activities designed to encourage social interactions, peer and family support.
Gold Coast Titans Community and Game Development general manager Renee Cohen was awarded the Sports Achievement award for her commitment to celebrating diversity within the Gold Coast sporting community. Through collaborating with Down Syndrome Queensland, Ms Cohen has provided young Australians living with Down’s Syndrome the opportunity to live the dream and escort their favourite Titans players onto the field before the game.
Friends of the Gold Coast Botanic Gardens was awarded the Environmental Achievement Awards for the work the group has done over the years, first in establishing and now continuing to care for and improve the City’s premier garden and making it a place that everyone can enjoy.
The Cultural Achievement Award went to Ken Dinh, a Vietnamese student who came to Australia two years ago to study and now works at the Gold Coast Student Hub and is a strong advocate for Southern Cross University. He has been a supporter of international students in Australia during the past year.