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Sunday, September 19, 2021

BOROONDARA: Joint honour for top citizens

Yvonne Giltinan and Dr Elaine Ong were last week recognised as joint Boroondara Citizens of the Year, and Aidan Dimitriadis was announced as Young Citizen of the Year.

Yvonne Giltinan is founder and choral director of the Yarra Gospel Community Choir. Over the past 17 years, she has grown the choir from just four original members to more than 70.

During 2020, Yvonne volunteered countless hours to take the choir online, providing comfort and joy to its members, extended families and the wider community during a most challenging year.

A professional musician with 40 years’ experience, she uses her skills and experience to mentor young accompanists and build a supportive community. Yvonne also volunteers her time to support local organsations and activities, including Camberwell High Ex-Students Society and St Mark’s Camberwell.

Dr Elaine Ong is a veterinarian with her own clinic in Balwyn, and is also the veterinary surgeon for Guide Dogs Victoria.

She started doing welfare work as a volunteer vet in the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami.

Each week, Elaine tirelessly volunteers her time to rescue and treat injured or displaced kangaroos and wallabies across Victoria.

She has volunteered as a vet and expert wildlife rescuer in significant bushfires and floods in Victoria for the past 20 years, including the Black Saturday bushfires and recently in the Mallacoota fires.

Dr Ong is also the founder of Vets for Compassion, where she trained vets who deliver animal welfare work in Bali and China for the past 22 years.

Young Citizen of the Year recipient Aidan Dimitriadis has spent nearly half his life giving back to his community.

The year 5 student volunteers at Four Golden Hearts, a group that supports local families. His “Build Anything, Be Anything by Aidan” campaign has provided hundreds of packs of Lego to children in need. He is also involved with the annual “Coats of Kids” campaign