Viva Energy’s Community Legends Winners have been announced, shining a light on Geelong’s unsung heroes

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Viva Energy’s Community Legends Winners have been announced, shining a light on Geelong’s unsung heroes

The winners of the Viva Energy Community Legends Awards 2022 have been announced.

Viva Energy has announced the winners of its Viva Energy Community Legends Awards, recognising ten local volunteers for their tireless service to the community.

At an awards ceremony held last week at GMHBA Stadium, the deserving finalists and overall winners were celebrated for their continuous commitment to helping those around them, and the organisations they support. Awards were presented for the Viva Energy Community Legend of the Year, the Rising Star Award (ages 16-26), and the People’s Choice Award.

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The Viva Energy Community Legends Awards return, celebrating Geelong’s unsung heroes

Community Legend of the Year and Rising Star Award winners were chosen by a panel of judges that represented a broad cross section of the Geelong community with the People’s Choice award being decided by a broader Geelong community vote. Winners received a share of the overall prize pool of over $75,000 for themselves, and their respective clubs.

The Community Legend of the Year award was presented to Libby Bate from Cancer After Care for the endless support she has shown in her role as President. Described as “a true community legend”, Libby has led the group in its incredible support of local cancer patients and cancer services, showcasing her concern for others and commitment to the community.

Jess Johns of the South Barwon Football & Netball Club was given the Rising Star Award (ages 16- 25) for the dedication and support she has shown to women in sport. Jess has coached and mentored juniors for nearly 10 years, and is a role model to aspiring female athletes who want to become great players and even better people.

Over 2,000 members of the community voted in the People’s Choice category, with the award going to Damian McKeegan, from Geelong Youth Engagement. Damian secured the most votes in the category, highlighting his dedication to the organisation and the youth it supports. Since 2016, Damian has helped ‘at risk’ young people work through challenges as diverse as drug abuse, self-harming and homelessness.

Viva Energy’s Executive General Manager of the Geelong Refinery, Dale Cooper, said the awards evening was a fitting platform to celebrate the commitment that the finalists have shown to their respective organisations and the Geelong community.

“Volunteering runs deep in Geelong, so it feels good to recognise the efforts of selfless people who’ve contributed so much to their local communities,” Dale said. “Viva Energy is immensely proud to acknowledge the deserving winners of each category, as well as all of the Finalists and nominated volunteers. They are all legends in the eyes of their nominators, members, and the organisations they represent.”

Dale encouraged community organisations to start planning for the next Viva Energy Community Legends Awards, which will take place in October 2024. “For those that missed out or didn’t enter this year, your should be thinking about which volunteers in your organisation are worthy of nomination in the 2024 awards,” he said.

Winners and finalists for 2022  


Community Legend of the Year Award: Libby Bate – Cancer After Care 

Rising Star Award (ages 16-25): Jess Johns – South Barwon Football & Netball Club 

People’s Choice Award: Damian McKeegan – Geelong Youth Engagement 


Margaret Markovic – Road Trauma Families Victoria 

Kerry Irwin – Christ Church Cummunity Meals Program 

Geoff Thompstone – Jan Juc Surf Lifesaving Club 

Bobby Hayes – Geelong Soccer Club 

Susan Eyton – Lion Clubs of Lara 

Karen Knuckey – Story Dogs 

Damon Veitch – EdConnect Australia 

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