Police Commissioner and wife are Hurstville’s citizens of the year

HE holds the top job fighting crime, but it’s the community work he does that has landed Andrew Scipione and his wife Joy joint title of Hurstville Citizens of the Year.The NSW Police Commissioner, 53, lives in St George with his wife and three children.‘‘For me, it’s a privilege to be recognised by your own community, in the area where you have your roots down and where you live. It’s a special honour,’’ Mr Scipione said.‘‘I feel like there are so many people who do far more than what we do in the community, the unsung heroes. I like to think that we represent those people.’’

Mrs Scipione, 54, said it was a ‘‘humbling experience’’ to be recognised for ‘‘serving the community she was part of’’. ‘‘Our family is very community centred because we see a great need out there to inspire and encourage because we are so blessed,’’ Mrs Scipione said.

The Scipione family are actively involved with the Georges River Lifecare Centre. Mrs Scipione is a youth leader and has volunteered with Shine — a program that deals with improving the self-esteem and sense of value and worth for girls and women.

‘‘In Andrew’s position, he has to deal with people who have already offended, in trouble, or messed up their lives, which is sad,’’ Mrs Scipione said.

‘‘I try to get to the other end to prevent that from happening.

‘‘I have taken hundreds of girls through Shine and know from experience that we all need to be encouraged and equipped to be the best we can be.

‘‘Shine provides these girls with an opportunity to do so.’’

Mr Scipione said he loved hearing positive feedback from Shine participants who realised their self-worth.

‘‘I think it’s really good to build their esteem and that’s what you want,’’ Mr Scipione said. ‘‘It’s really encouraging from a policeman’s perspective to read that because I wish that all our young girls and young men had this view.’’

Their daughter has volunteered with Shine and their two sons have been involved with Strength — which helps year 8 boys deal with topics including teamwork and respect — Mr Scipione has spoken at sessions.

Mr Scipione also runs a men’s breakfast at the church he attends, with the next one planned for March.

Hurstville mayor Steve McMahon said the award was a reflection of the couple’s valuable partnership.

‘‘What I like about the choice of having them as citizens of the year is that it shows how a partnership, not just an individual, makes it work,’’ he said.

‘‘Andrew is in a prominent position but it’s important that his wife is also recognised for her volunteer work within the St George community.’’

They will be honoured by Hurstville Council tonight.


Hurstville Citizens of the Year: Andrew and Joy Scipione

Young Citizen of the Year: Nathan Wong

Young Sportsperson of the Year: Seng Low

Achievement Awards: Marie Hudson, Dr Bin Lin, Julia Lee, Joshua Gray and Emma McDonagh