Outstanding citizens recognised

Citizen of the Year Steve Kemp, mayor Diana Mislov and Young Citizen of the Year, Alan "CJ" Dodd. Pictures: MITCHELL PATERSON 382758_02

Port Lincoln City Council has announced its 2024 Australia Day award winners, with Steve Kemp named the Citizen of the Year.

The council recently announced the exceptional individuals and community groups selected – residents who demonstrated unwavering dedication, passion, and service to the community, embodying the true spirit of Australia.

Alan “CJ” Dodd was named Young Citizen of the Year and the Community Event of the Year award went to St Joseph’s School for its performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Mr Kemp has been acknowledged for exemplary community service and philanthropy.

He was described as a proud local business owner of Kemp Real Estate who exemplified a commitment to community support and service.

The recent Share on Eyre initiative, in collaboration with local businesses, showcased Mr Kemp’s dedication to providing support and resources to vulnerable members of the community while encouraging others to do the same.

In addition, he volunteers countless hours as Matthew Flinders Nursing Home chairperson, a non-profit organisation providing care and accommodation for those with special health care needs and the ageing population of Port Lincoln.

When asked about his work with Matthew Flinders, Mr Kemp said it was a group effort he was proud to be involved in.

“My mother was in Matthew Flinders for four years and I was blown away by the care, we have an ageing population that I have so much respect for and I think we need to work towards accommodating them, we have to make sure the final part of their life has care and enjoyment,” he said.

“I’m proud of Matthew Flinders but it’s going to get harder and harder with an ageing population, not everyone can stay home and we have to cater to those people as well.

“I am just so lucky that I work with a group of fantastic people on committees and boards, all these people are equally deserving of any recognition going around.”

He said it was important to volunteer in the community.

“I think we have to encourage people to volunteer in our community, the more people that get involved the better – we have a fantastic community, there’s so many great people in the Port Lincoln community giving their time to different organisations and the work goes unnoticed, but these people keep port lincoln such a beautiful place,” Mr Kemp said.

“At Kemp we donate a lot of money to the Royal Flying Doctor Service – without it, it would be disastrous for our regional communities.”

When asked about being recognised as Citizen of the Year, Mr Kemp said he could not believe his ears when he got the call.

“I had absolutely no idea when Diana (Mislov) rang me,” he said.

“I thought it was one of my mates pulling my leg, but then I thought, I think this might actually be mayor Mislov.

“I’m so pleased I didn’t say anything inopportune to the mayor!” he laughed.

Young Citizen of the Year Alan “CJ” Dodd was nominated for exemplary qualities as a role model and advocate for the youth of our community.

As an Aboriginal youth worker employed by West Coast Youth and Community Support (WCYCS), CJ has played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of young individuals.

His dedicated efforts extend to working with students at Lincoln Gardens Primary School and running programs with the other public schools in Port Lincoln, establishing strong connections, including the Clontarf program.

He has also dedicated his time coaching both men’s and women’s football teams at Mallee Park Football Club.

CJ’s involvement also extends to the success of community events such as the Youth NAIDOC Ball, the Youth Skate Competition and Friday night basketball.

A key focus of CJ’s work has been on the education and upskilling of young Indigenous people in the community.

Mr Dodd said he was motivated to positively influence the younger generations of Aboriginal children, mainly from not having strong male role models growing up himself.

“I grew up in Koonibba and Ceduna and around, living up there I didn’t have much of a strong role model to look up to until I was about 19, then my uncle stepped in who passed away a couple of years ago now,” he said.

“I’ve got cousins and brothers and that but once they turned 18 they mainly had themselves and their families to look after.

“I didn’t have that strong person to connect to, so I thought I’d see if I could make a change and be that person for the next generation.”

Part of WCYCS since 2019, CJ volunteerings his time umpiring and supporting the under 13 coaches at Mallee Park, while he said driving “a bus of local kids from here to Adelaide for under 17s next generation carnival and supporting a team that is undefeated has been cool”.

“What I want to say to the kids of Port Lincoln is Lincoln is always going to be here, every kid is different, there’s home bodies, gamers, kids that want to adventure out, whatever is happening in their life at the time varies, I always say to the kids in this community, I’m here, West Coast is always here, there’s people around to help,” CJ said.

“The ball is in your hands and it depends on how you wanna play it.”

St Joseph’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ musical was selected for its outstanding performance on stage and its remarkable impact it had on the community.

Going beyond conventional audiences, the school initiated a heartwarming initiative by inviting aged care residents from local nursing homes and the special school.

This underscored the school’s and the students’ deep commitment to inclusivity and its mission to create shared experiences for the broader community.

The production was described as a shared experience that resonated far beyond the stage.

Mayor Diana Mislov congratulated the award winners.

“This year’s award nominees are people who contribute to their community through their endless charity work, leading the way forward as a role model to others, and providing opportunities for others to share in the joy and make connections through wonderful community events and performances.”

The winning recipients will be presented with their awards at an official Australia Day awards ceremony on the Port Lincoln foreshore on Friday, January 26, at 11am.