A strong crowd turned out in Victoria Park on Thursday to see some of Dubbo’s high achieving citizens recognised and hear from an inspiring Paralympic silver medallist.
After an Australian barbecue breakfast, the official ceremony started with a traditional Wiradjuri Welcome to Country.
Then Dubbo Regional Council administrator Michael Kneipp introduced Dubbo’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2017 Amanda Reid.
At only 20-years of age, the Paralympian has achieved more in her young career than most will in a lifetime.
Amanda was born with cerebral palsy that affects both sides of her body and will progressively get worse, as well as an intellectual disability.
She spoke at Dubbo’s ceremony, and later at Wellington, and shared her inspiring story of how she had to overcome cerebral palsy to succeed in swimming, and then when her disability worsened, she was able to transition to her current sport of cycling.
She also showed a great understanding and appreciation for the Ambassador program. Amanda said she was happy to come to Dubbo because she knew it had a big cycling community.
“We made the decision to come out because it was a way I could give back to the Dubbo community,” he said.
“I’m getting the hang of [being an ambassador], but I understand the importance of giving back to the community.”
Amanda finished fifth in the 100-metre backstroke at the 2012 London Paralympics and was improving before making the decision in 2015 to switch sports.
That change resulted in a Paralympic Silver medal at the Rio Games last year, in the 500-metre time trial, and has brought high hopes for her future.
“I have world championships in five weeks and my goal there is to win a gold medal,” she said.
“I will just have to wait and see on that one.
“We only got six weeks notice of the world championships, so it was a crazy rush when they announced it to jump straight into training again.”
Mr Kneipp said he was thrilled to be able to welcome some of Dubbo’s newest citizens and showcase the achievements of local heroes.
“Dubbo people really embrace the conception of celebrating diversity in the community. It was terrific to see so many deserving recipients of awards,” he said.
“We hear so many negative stories about people and these wonderful people don’t get much publicity but these awards are a chance to show what good they are doing.”