Citizens who stand tall

CITIZENS who have contributed to Rockdale through community service, volunteering, fund-raising and sport were honoured at Rockdale Council’s 2012 Citizen of the Year awards at Peter Depena Reserve, Dolls Point, on Australia Day.Mikall Chong, 64, of Bexley, received the top honour as Rockdale’s Citizen of the Year. Mr Chong has dedicated about 40 years to community service, charitable works, education, environment, employment and the arts and culture.

He migrated to Australia from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with his wife and two children in 1994 before becoming an Australian citizen in 2007.

By providing support to Rotary Australia, St George Migrant Resource Centre and chambers of commerce, Mr Chong has helped hundreds of skilled migrants get work.

“The best part of my role is that I can relate to people who are migrants, and also my ability to relate to the local community,” said Mr Chong, who works for St George and Sutherland Shire Community College.

“That’s one of the main things I tell migrants — get involved with the community, because that is my main focus.”

Rockdale mayor Bill Saravinovski said Mr Chong’s ability to motivate others to become involved made him a “leader in our community”.

Elizabeth Mora, 21, of Bexley, was awarded Rockdale Council’s Young Citizen of the Year title for her fund-raising activities and volunteer work.

She has been a volunteer for St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, Mission Australia, the Benevolent Society, Red Cross and St George Youth Services.

The Sydney University student, studying a bachelor of arts and bachelor of education on a five-year scholarship, said her mother had been a huge influence on her community work.

“I’ve always been interested in education and community development; I think it’s an important way of making a difference in the community . . . you not only help people, but you’re empowering them,” she said.

Figure skater and golfer Keona Lee, 11, of Bexley, is Rockdale’s Sportsperson of the Year, following in the footsteps of her sister Albrina, 20, who won the award in 2005.

Keona, in year 7 at St George Girls High School, won the 2011 Australian Figure Skating Championship, and last year also won the metropolitan junior open golf tournament and the Primary School Sports Association regional golf tournament.