Every year the Rotary Club of Merimbula organises a special Australia Day breakfast often with guest speakers, Australia Day ambassadors, citizen ceremonies and music.
More recently, due to the bushfires and then COVID, it has been a more subdued event but Merimbula Rotary was determined to do something this year "something that felt like normal" Rotarian Gai Byrne said.
And while it was a quiet start to the event, things soon warmed up with around 300 people attending to enjoy the sausage sizzle and music from the Sapphire Coast Jazz Band.
"People moved into the shade and listened to the music and quite a few who had been tied up with the float came up too. It was a great morning," Rotarian Sue Jellis said.
The club presented the Merimbula Rotary Community Service Award to Dr Liz Mullins, executive director of Southern NSW Local Health District for her leadership during the pandemic.
Rotarian Bill De Jong said COVID had been a real trial for everyone as they tried to stay safe and Rotary wanted to recognise the work that the health service staff do during these difficult times.
"The Community Service Award was given to Dr Liz Mullins for her leadership of health professionals in the region through the COVID pandemic. We want to recognise her as the leader and the whole group of health professionals," Mr De Jong said.
In accepting the award, Dr Mullins said it was humbling for her as she was "just a spokesperson for the health service". She also acknowledged the work that Rotary does around the world.
"The (health) services are here for the community and it is our priviledge and pride to look after the community," Dr Mullins said.
"Hopefully we are seeing the light at the end of this ghastly tunnel," she said.
Dr Mullins said the area had seen great rates of vaccination but urged people to get the third shot.
"The evidence is clear, with that third shot you are being protected for 12 months or longer. Booster rates are not as high as we would like and so this is my plea to get a booster if you haven't had one."
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