Meet our Council's 2018 Community Service Award winners 26 June 2018 Three people who toil quietly away to serve our communities have received some well-deserved recognition from our Council in the form of a Community Service Award presented at today's Council meeting. (Keith Stephenson of the Spirit of Coromandel Trust, which organises adventure racing events and has been working to build an outdoor education centre in northern Coromandel.) Keith Stephenson and Laurie Franks were presented with a certificate and a commemorative medal of thanks from our Mayor Sandra Goudie. The third Community Service Award recipient, James (Jim) Scott, could not be present today and will receive his certificate and medal in August. Scroll down to read more about each of these three community heroes. "I'm very privileged to be able to present these awards," says Mayor Sandra. "These awards recognise people who have a lot of other people behind them, yes, but they have also given their time and in cases money, and dedicated themselves selflessly to make their communities more vibrant and better places to be," our Mayor says. "This is overwhelming," Keith Stephenson says. "I can think of a dozen people who should be in the front of the queue ahead of me. I'm very honoured to take this home to the Spirit of Coromandel Trust people." Mr Stephenson has a long involvement with the Spirit of Coromandel Trust, which runs Adventure Racing Coromandel events including the K2 Road Cycling Classic, the Great Kauri Run, and ARC Adventure Races. Laurie Franks says his family has a long association with the Coromandel and he was born in Waikino. After a career as an engineer in Auckland he retired to Tairua "expecting to go fishing. Never did. I got involved in the Friendship Club. It's one of the best communities in New Zealand and that's been my whole focus," Mr Franks says. Biennial award Our Council holds the Community Service Awards every two years and calls for nominations around March of even-numbered years. This year's judging panel was composed of Councillors Jan Bartley, Tony Fox and Rex Simpson. For these 2018 awards, Mayor Sandra thought that rather than handing out just a certificate, a commemorative medal of thanks from the district was a more fitting and long-lasting tribute. On the front of the medal is the emblem of the old Thames Borough Council coat of arms, resplendent with a mining head frame and poppet head. The back of the medal is a koru-shaped heart emblem, reflecting the colours of the Coromandel's deep blue seas and sandy shores and a link to communities being at the heart of the district. The medal was designed by local graphic design artist Melissa McGregor of Modo Design. The first medal was awarded to Merv George, a Whitianga local who has been recognised for more than 40 years' service to the Whitianga Volunteer Fire Brigade, including 34 years as the local chief fire officer. All Merv has ever wanted to do was help others, and he dedicated 40-plus years of his life doing that. On the front of the medal is the emblem of the old Thames Borough Council coat of arms, resplendent with a mining head frame and poppet head. The back of the medal is a koru-shaped heart emblem, reflecting the colours of the Coromandel's deep blue seas and sandy shores and a link to communities being at the heart of the district. Keith Stephenson Keith was nominated for organising the 'K2 Bike Race' for the last 17 years, the 'Adventure Race' for the last 18 years, the 'Kauri Run' for the last 19 years and for his support around community events. Laurie Franks Laurie was nominated for the Tairua Care and Friendship Club, in which has been a member for 18 years, and president for 16 years - he has also been the Transport Coordinator, DHB representative and Grants Officer. Laurie was instrumental in the organization of the refurbishment of the Tairua Hall and upgrading of the old library building. Laurie is the founding member of the Probus Club (now known as the Focus Club) and he was elected president for the year 2004/5. James (Jim) Scott Jim was nominated for the Mercury Bay Medical Trust which he is the trustee of, also for being a member and secretary for the Matarangi Ratepayers Association for 18 years, Resident Management Group, members and supporter of the Kauri 2000/Rings Beach Project, Mercury Bay Arts Escape and co-worker on community Plans.