A RAYMOND Terrace advocate has been named citizen of the year in Port Stephens for her two decades of work.
Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz took out the honour at a ceremony in Riverside Park at Raymond Terrace on Friday.
Nine Port Stephens received awards, including former councillors Sally Dover and Geoff Dingle.
Port Stephens mayor Ryan Palmer said the awards were an important part of civic life.
"Australia Day is a time for us to come together and celebrate what's great about our community and the people who positively contribute to it every day," Cr Palmer said.
“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to acknowledge each of our nominees and winners, who have all showed passion for their communities and dedicated their time and effort to making Port Stephens a better place.
“It’s a pleasure to recognise Sally Dover and Geoff Dingle with the highest honour, Freeman of Port Stephens, for their dedication to and representation of the community, from parks and reserves and hall committees, to health, education and regional planning partnerships,” he said.
The pair were named Freeman of Port Stephens for their dedication to the community and more than a decade serving as councillors.
The title is given to those who distinguish themselves with the highest order of community service.
Mackenzie Bell, 10, was named young citizen of the year for her work to raise money for multiple sclerosis.
Two years old when her mother was diagnosed with the condition, she raised $1860 with a 24-hour mega swim at Sydney Olympic Pool.
Robyn Killen received the cultural endeavour award while rugby league stalwart Colin McMahon was named sportsperson of the year for his work expanding Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League.
Geoffrey Basser, Leon Lindsay and Peter Clough received the Port Stephens Medal.
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