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Kelly Lienesch is Bourke’s Citizen of the Year

Bourke Citizen of the Year, Kelly Lienesch, with Australia Day Ambassador James Pittar and Bourke Mayor Barry Hollman. PHOTO TWH

Australia Day was an opportunity for some of Bourke’s outstanding citizens to be publicly honoured, and the award winners this year were a diverse and inspiring group.

Included in the honours was a young track athlete, a former Australian Defence Force member and the invaluable volunteers who keep so many of Bourke’s sporting and community groups running.

The Bourke Citizen of the Year Award is the highest honour given by the Bourke Shire Council and this year it went to Kelly Lienesch, a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the community over an extended period.

For Kelly, it is the act of volunteering that drives her, and she said she hoped her contributions would inspire not just her own children, but others in the community to lend a hand.

“Without people who volunteer our community and sporting clubs, events wouldn’t happen,” Kelly said.

“Volunteering is rewarding because you meet like-minded people, you can integrate into your community and for me, it’s a good way to show my children that’s where money comes from for lots of community groups.

“I would say to anyone, get out there, give it a go – it’s an amazing opportunity to meet likeminded people who are happy to take you into their group, especially if you have young children.

“All those sporting groups that kids enjoy in Bourke are run by volunteers, that’s how they go ahead,” Kelly said.

Kelly has always had a generous nature, and her career choice reflected her desire to help others. She was offered a nursing traineeship and spent several years as a nurse before she saw an advertisement for the Australian Defence Force. She made a phone call and her life changed.

“I applied, not thinking I’d get accepted and it was a great opportunity to grow as a professional,” she said.

“I was member of the Royal Air Force as a medic in military hospitals in Melbourne and Sydney, but my significant deployment was to East Timor in 2001 with the United Nations peacekeeping operation as part of a medical contingent.

“I was attached to a reserve unit from Adelaide, and we ran an operating theatre as a group of Air Force medics and nursing officers. {…}

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