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Operation Owen kicked off in August 2011 when a group of friends set up a working group to fund and build a custom built house for the Owen family, whose two daughters suffer from a rare condition that affects their co-ordination and balance.

The Awards were announced and presented on Monday 16 September at a function at the Rosebank Lodge. 

For winning the Supreme Award, Operation Owen received a framed certificate, a trophy and $1,500 prize money. Operation Owen now has the opportunity to represent the district at the 2013 TrustPower National Community Awards, which are being held in Invercargill and Southland region in March 2014. 

In total, TrustPower has given away over $5,000 to various community groups through tonight’s Awards. 

Operation Owen kicked off in August 2011 when a group of friends set up a working group to fund and build a custom built house for the Owen family, whose two daughters suffer from a rare condition that affects their co-ordination and balance. 

To help fund this build they firstly organised a charity concert. This event was supported by a large number of volunteers across the South Otago community from performers and caterers to those who help set up and gave the campaign a great initial boost as it raised $40,000. 

Once the concert was over the phoning, emailing and letter writing began as they seeked donation of materials and labour for the build. Fortunately a combination of the right contacts and companies resulted in them obtaining all materials and enough labour to build the house. From large companies like Calder Stewart donating the entire roof and wall cladding to Windsor Brass donating all the door handles, their requests were met with incredible support. 

 TrustPower Community Relations Representative Jess Somerville says Operation Owen is close to many Clutha residents’ hearts as so many people volunteered their time in some way to benefit this project. 

“The Clutha community were right behind this project and poured a lot of energy, love, sweat and tears into the build. With more than $300,000 of building materials, appliances, furnishings and money raised it’s a heart-warming story of exactly what’s possible when a group of determined and passionate volunteers are supported by their community. If it wasn’t for the hundreds of volunteers who supported the concert, local fundraisers and turned up last labour weekend to help with build Operation Owen wouldn’t have got off the ground,” says Miss Somerville. 

Forty-one groups were entered into this year’s TrustPower Clutha District Community Awards – the second highest result so far. 

Other winners at tonight’s TrustPower Clutha District Community Awards were: 

Heritage and Environment
Commendation: Catlins Coast Incorporated
Runner-Up: West Otago Vintage Club
Winner: West Otago Cavalcade 2013 

Health and Well Being
Commendation: Balclutha Red Cross Meals and Meals on Wheels Drivers
Runner-Up: Clinton Lions Club
Winner: Operation Sugar 

Arts and Culture
Runner-Up: Owaka Swap Shop’
Winner: West Otago Theatrical Society

Sport and Leisure
Commendation: Clutha Super Masters Games
Runner- up: Catlins Promotions
Winner: Clutha Valley Lions Club 

Education and Child/Youth Development
Runner-Up: Kaitangata Car Show and Run
Winner: Clutha Valley Parent Teacher Association

Supreme Winner
Operation Owen 

Youth Spirit Winner:
Garth Devereux from Blue Mountain College
Runner-up: Richard Blair from South Otago High School