30 October 2020

Local heroes nominated for ACT's Australian of the Year awards

| Dominic Giannini
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Jess Peil and the Braveheart 777 running group.

Jess Peil, who leads the Braveheart 777 running group, has been nominated for the 2021 ACT Local Hero award. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Four months ago, Jess Peil was preparing to run seven marathons – or 300 kilometres – in seven days to raise money for sexual abuse survivors.

On Monday, 2 November, will be more of a walk when she attends the ACT’s Australian of the Year Awards as a nominee for the 2021 ACT Local Hero award.

“It is really exciting and I am truly so humbled to be in the category with some incredible people,” she said.

Jess is one of 15 people from the ACT who have been nominated across four categories.

READ MORE Canberra champion runs seven marathons in seven days for child sexual abuse survivors

The founder of Lids4Kids, Tim Miller, has also been nominated in the same category for his movement to stop bottle caps going into landfill by using them to build meaningful creations for kids, such as prosthetics for child amputees.

The community embraced Tim’s project with volunteers donating their time and space to wash and clean bottle caps and store them in garages.

Lids4Kids was receiving more than 50,000 lids a week back in February this year.

The ACT’s only certified Auslan interpreter, Amanda ‘Mandy’ Dolejsi, who worked overtime during the Black Summer bushfires and at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, has also been nominated.

Auslan interpreter Amanda 'Mandy' Dolejsi.

Auslan interpreter Amanda ‘Mandy’ Dolejsi has helped guide Canberrans during the COVID-19 pandemic and bushfire crisis. Photo: Australian of the Year.

Chiaka Moneke rounds out the category for her support and advocation for victims of domestic violence.

Australia’s former Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, became the face of Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic response back in March.

His handling of the crisis and the advice he provided to the Federal Government has been recognised through his nomination for the 2021 Australian of the Year award.

READ MORE Historic moment as Assembly hears Acknowledgement of Country in Ngunnawal

Professor Murphy, who is now the Secretary of the Department of Health, is joined by Aunty Caroline Hughes, Brigadier Alison Creagh and Patricia Turner as the ACT’s nominees for the award.

Caroline Hughes.

Ngunnawal traditional owner Aunty Caroline Hughes has been nominated for the 2021 Australian of the Year award. Photo: File.

The ACT’s nominations for Senior Australian of the Year are Kerry Allen, Patricia Anderson, Dr David Headon and Beverley Orr, while Nathan Barnden, Tara McClelland and Sarah O’Neill have been nominated in the Young Australian of the Year category.

Nathan is an active member of the Jellat Rural Fire Service despite living more than two-and-half hours away in Canberra. He travelled down to Bega to fight bushfires during the past summer.

The nominees are among 128 people being recognised across all Australian states and territories, and the ACT award recipients will be announced by Chief Minister Andrew Barr on Monday, 2 November.

The ACT recipients will progress to the national judging process, with national recipients being announced on Australia Day eve on 25 January, 2021.

The ceremony will take place at the National Gallery of Australia on 2 November at 6 pm and will be livestreamed on Facebook.

More information on the nominees and the awards can be found here.

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