2023 Citizen of the Year Awards17 Jan. 2023
For 2023 Citizen of the Year Bob Modra, spreading a message of hope and optimism is as natural as growing the sunflowers he’s synonymous with.
It’s not unusual to see Bob handing out hundreds of sunflower seed packets at the Barossa Christmas parade to encourage children to grow an entry for the Giant Sunflower competition he convenes at the Tanunda Show.
He’s also a mentor to at-risk students as a volunteer at John’s Place, using his skills as a former Community Mental Health Nurse; in fact Bob contributes to many causes that support and enhance the lives of those in our community.
An inaugural member of the Grow Love Community Garden in Tanunda, Bob continued the theme of “growing” as a member of the Barossa Suicide Prevention Committee, where he influenced the Seeds of Hope sunflower logo.
Bob describes the sunflower as symbolic and uplifting.
“I guess it’s a response that comes from within,” he says. “We live in difficult times, you know, and it just brings that joy, some relief and a sense of hope.
Over the decades, Bob has served as chair or vice chair on a variety of community groups. From the SPOKE Group (Barossa Child Youth and Family Services Group) and Barossa Valley Information Directory Group, to Greenock Agricultural Bureau and Vintage Festival Parade committee, he has devoted his time and talent to many community organisations.
Even today, at age 81, Bob is involved in nearly a dozen organisations such as the Lutheran Community Care, Barossa Valley Historical Vehicle Club, Fathers Farm Board, Seppeltsfield Road Biodiversity Group and the Barossa Community Conversations Focus Group, which works towards determining community welfare needs.
2023 Young Citizen of the Year
Championing the rights of the indigenous community and advocating for others has earned Ryan Walker-Kluske the 2023 Young Citizen of the Year.
The16-year-old from Lyndoch has shown a maturity beyond his years as member of the Indigenous and Reconciliation Affairs Committee in the YMCA Youth Parliament for 2021
2022, where he was recognised with an Emerging Leader Award.
Ryan was especially passionate about raising the age of indigenous children being placed in youth detention.
“In the first year we talked about raising the age from 11 to 14 for indigenous children, because if you’re indigenous you’re more likely to go to jail than a white child and it’s all about that stereotype. We wrote that bill to try and change the points of views of people.
“Raising the age to 14 would give them more of a chance… a way to get them back on their feet.
“I think it’s really important to talk about and fix these things.”
Selected as a Prefect for 2023 Trinity College Senior Campus, Ryan also shares his growing leadership skills within the local sporting community, helping to develop and encourage young athletes.
He is an active member of the Gawler Athletics Club and was team captain for the 2021/22 season, before taking on the role of Tiny Tots co-ordinator for the 2022/23 season.
“I had lots of fun and I’m pretty sure the kids had a lot of fun too,” Ryan said. “It’s less about skills and more about participation, and if they want to continue, it gets them ready for that.”
2023 Award for Active Citizenship
In Keith Jamieson’s eyes, everyone was a winner at the 2022 Toyota AFL National Inclusion Carnival held at Angas Recreation Park last November.
“It was one of the greatest things I’ve been involved in...it was one of those win-win events,” says Keith. “The participants certainly won, and we won by being involved in an inclusive carnival.”
As the proud president of Angaston Football Club, Keith’s contribution towards delivering the event for people with disabilities went above and beyond, earning him the 2023 Award for Active Citizenship.
Keith worked with the AFL Inclusion Team to deliver the successful competition, which attracted 170 athletes and staff to the Barossa and provided a significant boost to the region’s economy through sports tourism.
Keith not only volunteered many hours in the lead up to the event, helping to coordinate operations, volunteers, match logistics, umpires, catering, marketing and promotions; he also provided commentary during the live stream broadcast.
“Keith is very proud of the Angaston Football Club and the new facilities at the Angas Recreation Park. His pride and passion shone through and his ability to host a national sporting event in Angaston was made evident,” said his nomination.
2023 Community Event of the Year
More than 600 people witnessed history come to life during the 2022 Barossa History Fair, winner of this year’s Community Event of the Year.
The Regional Heritage Network - a volunteer organisation representing more than 30 history and heritage members - helped bring the biennial event to fruition and more than 70 volunteers contributed to ensure the day ran smoothly.
Participants were able to join in a family scavenger hunt, view exhibits, listen to guest speakers, watch the Victoriana Society promenade and the Light Horse parade and see sparks fly at the Angaston Blacksmith Shop.
“It was really interesting to hear community memories and I think that was a real highlight of the History Fair.”