He might already be shorter than his son, but Citizen of the Year Reuben Slingo was walking tall when his son Hunter received a gong at last week’s Australia Day Awards ceremony.
The father-and-son duo were recognised for their contribution to the community at the Weipa Town Authority-led awards, with 13-year-old Hunter named the Young Citizen of the Year.
The Slingo family as a whole could have been named the winners, with mum Christine and daughter Annabelle also achievers in the community.
“I’m blown away,” said Reuben, who was nominated for his work as president of the Weipa Rodeo Association.
“There are many people here that could have just as easily won because they have all done some amazing work.”
WTA chair Michael Rowland said Reuben was a worthy winner.
“Since joining the rodeo committee he has continuously looked for ways to improve, not just the event itself but the background of how it all comes together,” he said.
“Never one to call on the spotlight, he makes the improvements with no expectation of recognition.
“With local group Talk About It Tuesday as the Weipa Rodeo’s community charity in 2023, Reuben was determined to make it the biggest year of fundraising to date and achieved that goal.”
Reuben also helps out twice a week in the canteen for the Central Cape Suns rugby league club during the footy season.
“Without volunteers like Reuben, Weipa wouldn’t be the amazing place it is,” Mr Rowland said.
Following in his footsteps is Hunter, who is also involved with the rodeo and junior rugby league club.
The teenager was seen both on the field and in the arena last year, but it was his work on the sidelines and behind the scenes that saw him nominated for the Young Citizen of the Year gong.
“Hunter is an outstanding young man and a role model to his peers,” Mr Rowland said.
“Last year, Hunter was recognised by Queensland Rugby League as one of the Mini Maroons of the Year, particularly after proving so helpful during Country Round when the Northern Pride brought a game to Weipa.
“Whatever Hunter gets involved with, he is the first to arrive and last to leave and always gives 100 per cent.”
The Community Spirit Award had joint winners this year, with Naty Linnehan and Scott Kootoofa sharing the spoils.
For almost two years, Naty has been putting on basketball at the storm surge shelter, paying for the hire of the venue and basketballs out of his own pocket to give locals a chance to play.
From small numbers, around 30 kids and 30 adults are now participating each Saturday.
Scott was recognised for his efforts as a DJ at community events.
The Goodline worker either performs for free or at heavily discounted rates to support events like the Weipa Running Festival and the inaugural Weipa Fight Night.
Scott also supplies his own equipment, which cops a battering in the Weipa weather.
One of the highlights of the Weipa Australia Day Awards was the celebration of eight new citizens who took the pledge to become Australians.
Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, said it was a great thrill to witness the ceremony.
“This will be a night they will never forget and well done to the Weipa Town Authority for putting on such a terrific event,” he said.