Jim Sonerson is a local hero.
The Warkworth resident is among three Rodney and Hibiscus Coast residents to receive Kiwibank Local Hero medals as part of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards.
Jim, Colleen Julian and Robert Newby were among 31 winners of the category recognised for their achievements at the Ellerslie Event Centre on Tuesday night.
Much of Jim's life has been spent helping others. He has walked around New Zealand to fundraise for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand, opened a free kayaking school for beginners to promote kayaking, and supported a number of projects in the Warkworth area.
He is a member of the Warkworth Kowhai Festival committee and the Warkworth Riverbank Enhancement Group, helping to fundraise for a kayak pontoon in the town centre.
Jim cycled 1000km to fundraise for the Warkworth Wellsford Hospice and founded the Warkworth Canoe Showdown, receiving an award from Mayor Len Brown for his service to the town.
Delivering medication to the elderly and looking after their well-being is also part of Jim's community work.
Colleen Julian is recognised for her work as Warkworth-based Women's Centre Rodney manager. She helps families in need throughout the year, and, in particular, around Christmas.
She runs a course for young adults with children, and offers them advice and tips for around the home. Colleen has helped women of all ages.
Robert Newby of Stanmore Bay receives his Kiwibank Local Hero award for 10 years of voluntary work maintaining the swimming pool for the community-based North Harbour Sports and Country Club.
Without the help of people like Robert such community facilities would be hard to maintain, his citation says.
"These fine people embody the qualities that have long held our community together," Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer says after presenting the medals. "Their charity, selflessness and generosity have touched upon the lives of so many and make our community a better place to live."
The fifth annual Kiwibank Local Hero awards are recognition for good deeds in the community. People can nominate anyone they think has made a powerful impact on the lives of others.
They may be involved in business, leadership, voluntary work, community and environmental groups, education, sport, working with the disadvantaged or have displayed courage facing personal adversity.
About 115 medals will be presented nationwide during the next few weeks, with one national hero to be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards in Auckland in February.
- Rodney Times
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