Bunbury honours its best

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Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
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Citizen of the Year winner Vikas Saini.
Camera IconCitizen of the Year winner Vikas Saini. Credit: Pictures: Nicolette Barbas, Nicolette Barbas

Bunbury’s best were recognised with the presentation of Citizen of the Year awards on Tuesday during the City’s Australia Day ceremony.

Vikas Saini was among the field of nominees to be awarded Citizen of the Year, which included Lauren Williams, Paschal Kearney, Denise Ladhams and Lesley Nelson.

When Mr Saini came to Bunbury in 2010 it was not planned.

Some 10 years later the taxi driver, who has worked with people with disabilities for the past seven years, was recognised as the City of Bunbury’s Citizen of the Year.

“I never planned to come to Bunbury, destiny brought me here,” Mr Saini laughed.

“I was in Victoria then I came to Mandurah and ended up here in Bunbury and haven’t looked back since.”

Mr Saini said working as a taxi driver gave him a new perspective.

“I have spent 15 years as a taxi driver and about seven years ago I started driving wheelchair access taxis,” he said.

“I would pick these customers up and see the difficulties they had with their life and it really put things into perspective for me. It changed my life.

“This award is a great honour for me and my family, it was not possible without them and I hope my daughter and son will recognise my achievement when they are older.”

Recognised for her commitment to volunteering with various clubs around Bunbury, 16-year-old Anai Gelmi was awarded the City of Bunbury’s Young Citizen of the Year Winner.

Young Citizen of the Year winner Anai Gelmi.
Camera IconYoung Citizen of the Year winner Anai Gelmi. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

“It’s a weird feeling to get recognition for volunteering,” Anai said.

“I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember and have always loved helping out.

“I’ve never felt really special about anything I do.

“At the end of the day, it’s nice to know you’re doing something for the community.”

The Year 12 student has a passion for the environment and is hoping to have a career in the environmental science field.

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