MORE than 20 residents pledged their citizenship to the nation at the Muswellbrook Shire Australia Day ceremony on Sunday.
Ginalyn, Juanito, Adriel, Mike and Timothy Aquino; Rherycel Barrientos; Hannah Comerford; Yu Huang; Jocelyn Langtree; Maila Magistrado; Suganiya Ragulan; Elsje Meyer; Glenys Rose; Shaun Samodal; Chanphen Sangsimma; Michael Taylor; Shelley Dale; Anton and Tristan Van Es; Angelito, Hannah, Zoe and Loreli Tranate; and John Paul Estrada were all given a warm welcome at the Denman Memorial Hall on January 26.
The event, which followed Saturday night's Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year presentation at the Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music, also recognised the achievements of locals in a number of categories, including Sportsperson of the Year, Junior Sportsperson of the Year, Services to Sport, Sustainability, Social Inclusion and the North Oak awards.
The Muswellbrook Rams under-14 rugby league team was named Sportsperson of the Year following an outstanding season, while the junior honour went to young Denman athlete Ruby Butler.
Jim Huggins deservedly secured the Services to Sport accolade.
Even though he played, coached and refereed for more than 40 years in the Muswellbrook Basketball Association, he was also prominent in athletics.
Mr Huggins mentored athletes for five decades without charging for his services.
The Penguins Garden Group took home the Sustainability Award for its ongoing contribution and commitment to community organisations and local residents, while participating in many worthy causes such as Clean-Up Australia Day and National Tree Day.
Muswellbrook's Red Door Community Kitchen picked up the Social Inclusion Award.
The volunteers offer a safe non-judgemental space that allows participants the opportunity to discuss issues and concerns, as well as link with other service providers.
The recipient of the North Oak Award was Muswellbrook High School.
The staff and students have a long and proud history in providing excellent education and training in preparing pupils to take on the challenges of agriculture.
This was capped by fantastic results at the Upper Hunter Show, Singleton Cattle Judging Day, Sydney Royal Easter Show, Hoof and Hook Cattle Competition and various other events.
"We'd like to congratulate all the winners, as well as the nominees," Muswellbrook Shire mayor Martin Rush said.
"Council gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Land Council for the Acknowledgement of Country and Brushing Ceremony; Muswellbrook PCYC for providing the barbecue; Muswellbrook and District Camera Club, Muswellbrook Shire Concert Band and Denman District Development Association."