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Toowoomba Honours Local Heroes in Annual Citizen Awards

Toowoomba Honours Local Heroes in Annual Citizen Awards
Image courtesy of Toowoomba Regional Council

Toowoomba, Jan. 28 – In a heartfelt tribute to the unwavering dedication and exemplary contributions of its residents, Toowoomba recently held the annual Citizen of the Year Awards.

This prestigious event showcased individuals and groups whose selfless efforts have left an indelible mark on the community.

2024 Toowoomba Region Australia Day award recipients

Tiffany Spary Named Toowoomba Citizen of the Year

Tiffany Spary, a dedicated advocate for the city’s homeless population, has been recognized as the Toowoomba Citizen of the Year. Alongside her husband Nat, Tiffany has played a crucial role in the success of Toowoomba’s BASE Services.

Having devoted over two decades to the Basement Soup Kitchen, including 15 years as a volunteer, Tiffany ensures that the city’s homeless individuals receive nutritious meals five days a week in a safe and communal environment.

Notably, she initiated the innovative Second Shot program in 2016, providing hospitality training and employment opportunities for those experiencing homelessness.

Under Tiffany’s leadership, Second Shot has created eight permanent positions, offered 130,280 hours of paid employment, supported 87 people away from homelessness, and provided training and employment to 211 individuals.

Janet Suey Honoured as Toowoomba Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Citizen of the Year

Toowoomba proudly recognises Janet Suey as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Citizen of the Year. A Mardigan woman with a deep passion for sports, Janet has been an active community member, contributing to various initiatives and supporting young athletes in their pursuits.

Janet’s dedication extends beyond sports, as she has served in supportive roles for organizations like SWIN, the Aboriginal Legal Service, Downs Housing, the Department of Youth Justice, and Mercy Family Services.

Her involvement in organising Debutante Balls and volunteering during challenging times reflects her commitment to serving the community.

Janet, who serves as a Director on the Toowoomba Sports Club board, continues to inspire and motivate with her positive attitude and passion for community unity.

Lena Nabizada: Toowoomba Young Citizen of the Year

Lena Nabizada, founder of Strive Connecting, has been named Toowoomba’s Young Citizen of the Year. A passionate leader, Lena strives to bridge cultural differences and promote inclusivity in the community.

Her initiatives include organising workshops to foster conversations among young people, challenging preconceived notions, and encouraging dialogue that promotes understanding and empathy. Lena’s commitment to connecting through differences extends to her role as a radio host on Radio Persia, where she supports the Persian and Dari speaking community.

Lena’s involvement in climate action through Toowoomba GenZero and her dedication to updating the ‘Pamphlet Project’ showcase her potential to inspire change on a larger scale. Lena’s contributions to the community, both locally and globally, make her a shining example of a young leader with a lasting impact.

Yajuvendrasinh Mahida Receives Toowoomba Cultural Award

Toowoomba Cultural Award recipient Yajuvendrasinh Mahida has significantly contributed to fostering cultural understanding and empowerment within the community since his move from India to Toowoomba in 2009.

Active in various community initiatives, Yajuvendrasinh played a crucial role in providing support to international students during the COVID-19 pandemic. His leadership in bringing together diverse Indian communities and organising events like India Day reflects his commitment to creating a closely connected local community.

Yajuvendrasinh’s efforts have not only enriched Toowoomba’s cultural landscape but also contributed to supporting international students and building bridges between communities.

David Natalier: Toowoomba Senior Sport Award Recipient

David Natalier, a high school teacher at Centenary Heights State High School, has been recognized with the Toowoomba Senior Sports Award for his exceptional dedication to coaching basketball and mentoring students.

David not only focuses on developing the technical skills of his players but also emphasises values like sportsmanship and cooperation. Beyond the basketball court, he serves as a positive role model, contributing to the psychological development of his students. David’s passion for education and sports makes him an outstanding educator and coach in the Toowoomba community.

Bianca Markham: Toowoomba Junior Sport Award Winner

Bianca Markham, a dedicated softball player, has been named Toowoomba’s Junior Sports Award recipient. Her commitment to training, academic achievements, and leadership on and off the field make her a standout athlete.

Bianca’s involvement in multiple softball teams, both at the state and national levels, highlights her dedication to the sport. Her achievements, including representing Australia in international competitions, make her an inspiration to young athletes in Toowoomba.

David Hack Classic: Toowoomba Community Event of the Year

The David Hack Classic, organised by the 26-member Rotary Club of Toowoomba North, has been recognized as the Community Event of the Year. Celebrating its 25th year in 2023, the event showcases classic vehicles and warbirds, attracting thousands of visitors from Toowoomba and beyond.

The annual fundraiser, which supports charities like Blue Care and the Leukaemia Foundation, is a testament to the community spirit and dedication of the Rotary Club members, local businesses, and volunteers who make it a success.

BASE Services Inc.: Toowoomba Community Group of the Year

BASE Services Inc. has been honoured as the Toowoomba Community Group of the Year. The organization, standing for Build-up, Accept, Support and Encourage, provides essential services and support to individuals in need.

Offering nutritious meals, case management, and support programs, BASE Services Inc. plays a vital role in addressing homelessness and promoting reconciliation and cultural awareness. The success of initiatives like Second Shot reflects the organization’s commitment to empowering individuals and strengthening the community.

The Toowoomba Citizen of the Year Awards recognise the outstanding contributions of individuals and groups that make a positive impact on the community, showcasing the diverse talents and dedication present in Toowoomba.




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