Geraldton customer service star and military tour group nominated in WA Community Achievement Awards

Lisa Favazzo & Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
Aquarena's Janie Jones and Chris Cox, of the 11th Battalion Living History Unit.
Camera IconAquarena's Janie Jones and Chris Cox, of the 11th Battalion Living History Unit. Credit: Elise Van Aken and Tamra Carr

A State-wide competition has recognised a military history tour group and long-term Geraldton Aquarena customer service superstar for their hard work, dedication and can-do attitudes.

Two of the nominees in this year’s WA Community Achievement Awards call Geraldton home.

Aquarena employee Janie Jones is a Ricoh Australia customer service award nominee, and the Northern Gully-based 11th Battalion Living History Unit has received a Woolworths community group of the year award nomination.

After 10 years at the Aquarena and 30 years in customer-facing roles, Ms Jones still loves working with people and getting to know those from all corners of the community.

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“I’m a bit surprised, I suppose; happy because it’s nice to get some acknowledgement,” she said.

She said it was lovely watching local kids grow up and building bonds with local people.

“I think because I’ve been here for so long it’s lovely watching kids from six months and now they’re 10 years old, so I’ve sort of watched them progress from babies to kids and some from five to 15 years old,” Ms Jones said.

“I’ve sort of watched them grow and become kids or young adults, which is lovely, and I’ve known them their whole lives with some of them.”

We attempt to honour those men in the best way we can.

Until recently, the group ran historical tours at its replica World War I Gallipoli trench. The group aims to keep Mid West soldiers who died in the war in the local consciousness.

It hosted guests from all over the world before the pandemic.

“It was our main source of income,” group president and veteran Chris Cox said.

Then a cyclone tore through the trench, destroying 2000 sandbags and some infrastructure.

In the face of all that, the group is determined to get it up and running again, with Mr Cox saying this recognition would help.

“Our goal in life is to remember the men who made the sacrifice in WWI,” he said.

“We attempt to honour those men in the best way we can.”

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