Top honours for two of our outstanding citizens

COOMA-MONARO Shire Councillor Winston Phillips has received national recognition for his outstanding contribution to the community in the 2013 Australia Day Honours List.

Mr Phillips was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to local government, and to the community of the Monaro and Snowy Mountains region.

And at the Australia Day celebrations in Cooma's Centennial Park on Saturday Vern Dunning was revealed as this year's Citizen of the Year.

As well as 22 years of service as a councillor, including four years as deputy mayor, Mr Phillips has been involved in countless local community groups and organisations since moving to Cooma in 1987.

He said the award recognised not only his community involvement, but the achievements of the groups and those who have supported him.

"All the organisations I'm involved with and the community, it's an award for them," he said.

"All the people who supported me, they've got a share in it too."

Mr Phillips was elected to council in 1991 after moving to Cooma from Binnaway, near Coonabarabran, in August 1987 to work as a ranger with the Rural Lands Protection Board.

After 22 years with council which included being deputy mayor from 2001 to 2004, he says he is still enjoying it.

"I enjoy interacting with the community and other councillors. It's a learning process. I learn something new at every meeting," he said.

Since moving to Cooma, Mr Phillips has been involved in everything from the Cooma Little Athletics Association and school Parents' and Citizens' Associations to Chairman of Sir William Hudson Nursing Home and a director of the Cooma Ex-Services Club.

One of his longest involvements has been with the NSW Rural Fire Service, first joining in 1969 and is currently a member of the Cooma Monaro unit.

He served as deputy captain and secretary and treasurer for the Bush Fire Brigades in Coonabarabran and Coolah before he moved to Cooma.

Mr Phillips attributes his community spirit to his parents.

"My parents were community minded. They probably deserve this award more than me," he said.

"I thought it [being involved in the community] was just part of life - something everyone did."

In 1988 he became a member of the Cooma Little Athletics Association and served as president for two years and held various executive roles up to 1993.

He joined the Cooma Pastoral and Agricultural Association in 2006 and has been vice president since 2011.

He has held the position of president and vice president of the Cooma North Public Parents' and Citizens' Association between 1988 to 2000.

He has also been president, vice president and member of the Monaro High School Parents' and Citizen's association from 1991 to 2007.

But perhaps his proudest community endeavour has been his involvement in the Sir William Hudson Memorial Centre nursing home for which he has been chairman since 1999 and director since 1996.

"The nursing home is my most rewarding achievement," he said.

"So much work is done behind the scenes and I admire all the people who look after it.

"It's some of the most rewarding stuff I do."

Other achievements include Director, Cooma Ex-Services Club, since 2009; Director, Snowy Mountains Credit Union, 1996-2001; followed by Service One Credit Union, 2001-2010; Chairman, Snowy Monaro Bush Fire Management Committee, since 1994; Deputy Chairman, South East Livestock Health and Pest Authority, since 2009; Director, since 2009; and Deputy Chairman, Rural Lands Protection Board, 2006-2008.

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