A former army photographer will be recognised as Warrnambool's citizen of the year at the council's Australia Day ceremony on Sunday.
James Mepham, who works with the RSL Active program and is a member of Rotary, said he thought it was a prank when he first received notification of the award.
"I feel undeserving of this award," Mr Mepham said.
"There are so many incredible people in this community, I am so lucky to work with a lot of Rotarians and a lot of community groups and I think 'wow, I don't think I stand up to that measuring stick'.
"But if this award gives us the chance to continue the conversation around veterans' mental health and veterans' families and what they go through, then I will take that chance.
"We can do so much from Warrnambool in the international space to help others as well."
Mr Mepham said he was nominated for the award by a neighbour.
"He knows the work I have been doing, it is very kind of him that he considers the work meaningful enough," he said.
After a career working as a photographer with the Australian Army, covering events such as the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami in Aceh, Mr Mepham struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Facing up to my veteran life through RSL Active has been a new thing for me," he said.
"Before my veteran experience was shrouded in the difficulties with post-traumatic stress, but RSL Active has pulled me back into the space with meaningful connections and peer support, wellbeing and the chance to turn the narrative around.
"Instead of saying we are damaged by our military experience, we can say we have skills and talents we can give to the community."
Volunteer wildlife carer and Brophy youth advocacy member Shannon Carter, 19, has been awarded the young citizen of the year title.
"I was pretty overwhelmed when I found out," she said.
"I received a letter in the mail and though 'why is the council sending me a letter', I didn't even know I had been nominated.
"I have been volunteering with the Brophy Youth Alliance for six months, and working with rescued animals at Mosswood Wild Life Shelter in Koroit and with my mum (a wildlife foster carer) since I was 10.
"The Youth Alliance is about raising awareness of getting young people into work, the kind of skills we need, and getting started when you might not have finished year 12 or university."
Currently studying youth intervention at TAFE, Ms Carter said she would be happy to pursue a career in either social work or wildlife.
"I am equally passionate about both areas, I will definitely keep involved with the wildlife.
"I would like to help at-risk youth, in either disability services or (underprivileged) youth."
Ms Carter said it was an honour to receive the award after her mother Val Carter was named citizen of the year in 2019.
"We are keeping the prizes in the family," she said.
"Mum won the award for wildlife, she is massively involved in caring for the animals, my friends and family are pretty stoked."
People receiving a local achiever award include Find Your Voice Choir's Kylie Thulburn and Tom Richardson, breast cancer fundraiser Marie McDonald, Keith McKenzie for his leadership in local scouting, and the CWA's Warrnambool Night Owls.
Matt Reeves and Jodie Fleming have been awarded the community event of the year for the Human Library 3280 project.
Awards will be presented at the city's Australia Day festivities on Sunday in the botanical gardens from 10am.
In addition to the awards, 28 people will be presented with their Australian citizenship from countries including the United Kingdom, India, Germany, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, The Philippines, New Zealand, Kenya, Afghanistan, Iran, Thailand, South Africa, Denmark and Hong Kong.
A number of community groups will provide food and the Holiday Actors, the Warrnambool Ukelele Band, Blake Rudland Castle and Mick Ferguson will provide entertainment.
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