Michelle Brayford, Citizen of the Year for Airlie Beach, Proserpine and surrounds pictured with her husband, Karl.
Michelle Brayford, Citizen of the Year for Airlie Beach, Proserpine and surrounds pictured with her husband, Karl.

Tireless hours of volunteering honoured

MICHELLE Brayford wears many different hats in the community; volunteer for the Whitsunday Netball Association, member of the Whitsunday Sports Park, foster mother, leader of the Whitsunday air force cadets and new teacher at Proserpine High School.

Today, Mrs Brayford also added Citizen of the Year to her list.

Mrs Brayford was honoured for her work received the award for Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, Proserpine and surrounds at a ceremony in Proserpine this afternoon.

Ever humble, Mrs Brayford said she did not expect to receive the award and was “overwhelmed and emotional” to be recognised.

“I don’t know how to put it into words,” she said.

“I do what I do because it’s so important for people in the community to give back.

“None of us would be where we are in our lives without the help and support of people surrounding us.”

Mrs Brayford has volunteered with sporting teams in the Whitsundays for over two decades on top of playing an active leadership role in the air force cadets and studying for a Bachelor of Education.

Citizen of the Year for Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, Proserpine and surrounds Michelle Brayford cutting the Australia Day cake alongside Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox.
Citizen of the Year for Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, Proserpine and surrounds Michelle Brayford cutting the Australia Day cake alongside Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox.

Mrs Brayford began volunteering at a young age and said helping others had always been a priority for her- an ethos she hoped could be passed on to the air force cadets.

“One of the aims of the cadets is to develop them so they are good citizens in the wider sense,” she said.

“It’s so important to give back to the community, because the community helps mould who you are.

“So the more you give back the better the community’s going to be.”

Mrs Brayford thanked the air force cadets for their support and teamwork, but also gave a special mention to her husband who always had a meal waiting for her after a long day.

“I’m studying to do my degree while I’ve been working and doing cadets, and he cooks dinner just about every night so that’s amazing,” she said.

Mrs Brayford was offered an position at Proserpine State High School and will continue studying and volunteering on top of teaching.

While her schedule would be busy, Mrs Brayford hoped she could pass on the lessons learnt from her time volunteering to the students and encourage them to become active citizens in the community.

“It’s being able to give the youth of today the skills that they need to be able to be resilient, to be able to make good decisions and to be citizens that everyone they know can be proud of,” she said.

“It’s fantastic that the community awards people, and I’m quite sure that like myself everyone else that received awards don’t do it for the accolades, but it’s also fantastic to be recognised and it makes it so much more worthwhile.

“We would still do it, because that’s the kind of people that help in the community, but to know that people out there recognise all the hard work that you and everyone around you does is amazing.”


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