Cobram-Barooga will have strong representation when the Queen’s Baton arrives in Yarrawonga on February 15 as part of the 100-day countdown to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Cobram residents Adriana Fazio, Ray Sweeny and Damian Van De Berg and Barooga’s Leigh Hansen will have the honour of carrying the baton, all for various but equally important reasons.
Mr Sweeny, a Scotsman who arrived in Cobram in 1960, became a hero when he courageously saved a woman from drowning in the Ovens River at Porepunkah two years ago.
Despite being a weak swimmer himself, he didn’t think twice about rushing in to retrieve the woman after she knocked her head and became unconscious.
In a nice touch, the woman nominated Mr Sweeny for saving her life.
He said he was ‘‘very excited’’ to be carrying the baton and he would have plenty of family and friends travelling to Yarrawonga to watch him in action.
Mrs Hansen was nominated by her husband David after years spent contributing to Victorian swimming in both paid and volunteer roles.
She said her biggest role was as head of delegation for the International Tourist Games in Taiwan.
Mrs Hansen said she was ‘‘very humbled to be selected’’ and forecast it would be a very special moment.
Mr Van De Berg was nominated for his 20-year contribution to the Cobram-Barooga Swimming Club, as well as his service as a volunteer firefighter at Cobram East and Boosey Fire Station.
He is also a life member of Swimming Victoria.
Mr Van De Berg said he was humbled and honoured to be selected..
‘‘(It’s) great recognition for people who do great things in the local community,’’ he said.
Mrs Fazio’s story is one of great courage and strength of mind.
She was nominated by Mrs Hansen, who was inspired by her friend’s positive outlook throughout her eight-year battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Mrs Fazio said she was ‘‘gobsmacked, over the moon’’ and beside herself to learn she had been selected.