By Victoria Stone-Meadows
Casey City Council’s non-resident of the year award was presented to David Nugent, who runs a men’s health and wellbeing program out of Hallam Senior College.
Mr Nugent who lives in Bunyip was awarded the Australia Day honour at a special presentation in the Casey Council chambers on the evening of Thursday 26 January.
Mr Nugent is the founder of Heavy METAL (Men’s Education Towards Anger and Life), which offers behaviour change programs and counselling support to men, women and children affected by family violence.
While he was proud enough to be nominated for the award, Mr Nugent was even more surprised to find out he had actually won it.
“I felt like it was a very special honour and I felt quite proud being selected and being part of it,” he said.
“I was proud of being accepted just as a nominee and I think the biggest reward for me is sitting back and reflecting on the work I have done in the last 15 years and the privilege I have had to work with men, women, and teens looking for help to live life without family violence.”
He also said having formal recognition for the work he has been doing was a nice surprise and he couldn’t be happier.
“I’ve been running Heavy METAL for 15 years and have been quietly working away with my team and helping men and women around FV issues,” he said.
“I’ve been working in schools with teens for 10 years so the recognition of that work makes me feel quite privileged.”
Despite not living within the city of Casey, he was awarded the prize due to his dedication and commitment to improving the lives of the people in the municipality and beyond.
More than a counsellor in the community, Mr Nugent is an active member of groups and committees dedicated to ending family violence.
He organised a community screening of the ABC documentary ‘Call Me Dad’, is involved in White Ribbon Day events and advocates to the State Government on important community issues
Mr Nugent was one of five people and two events to be given Australia Day honours by the City of Casey Council.
Casey Citizen of the Year was awarded to Anne McGill, of Berwick.
Casey Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to 16-year-old Alyssa Weston, of Cranbourne.
Casey Sportsperson of the Year was awarded to Reiley Mark, of Berwick.
Casey Senior Citizen of the Year was awarded to Edward (Ted) Clay, of Tooradin.
The two community events to receive wards are the Frost Week, Cure de Berwick (Berwick College Frost Learning Team) and the Community Christmas Lunch (Cranbourne Turf Club).