The Lilydale International Convention Center was once again the venue for an event that will surely gain annual iconic status. On Saturday the 3rd of June, the Combined Churches of the whole Shire of Yarra Ranges under the auspice of The Mayor Monika Keane, gathered together to thank and honor those in our community who work tirelessly and unheralded. Yes this was the Inaugural National Day of Thanksgiving Mayoral Breakfast. Over two hundred and fifty people enjoyed a hearty breakfast while being entertained by the Seventh-day Adventist College Brass band. Over tea and coffee and later during the main program, the entertainment came in the form of two soloists with magnificent voices, Barry McKay and Jennifer Anderson. The Mayor, Monika Keane commenced her welcome speech by acknowledging the original inhabitants of this country, the Wurundjeri people. After acknowledging the presence of the Chair, the organizing committee, Mr. Tony Smith, MHR for Casey and his wife Pam and all present, she went on to say how much she and the Shire appreciated the thousands who contribute every day to our community. She especially thanked the dedicated people who work with children, and in health and the extraordinary work of the emergency services. She spoke of being immensely proud of being part of such a community. As an aside she talked of her own childhood as a volunteer working many times with her mother. She thanked the Churches for putting on such an event and suggested that we pause on this National Day of Thanksgiving to think about what we value and the people we value. Finally she thanked again all those who enrich our lives daily by their unselfish giving. The core of proceedings was then the formal thanking of four specific selected groups of people who were representative of the larger community. 1/ Education, Children, Youth Services and Families. 2/ Emergency Services, Community Houses, Community Radio, Churches and Multi-cultural Groups. 3/ Health, Disability and Elderly and 4/ Government, Business, Utilities and Transport. After the formal thanking and prayer for each group, the guest speaker for the morning, Mr. Jim Wallace AO addressed the assembled. Jim is the Executive Chairman of the Australian Christian Lobby in Canberra and was formerly an Army Brigadier, SAS Commander and a Vietnam Vet. who originally trained at Duntroon. His message was clear and simple and one of the importance of thankfulness. He spoke of the roots of our free democracy that was founded in the Judeo-Christian Faiths. He spoke of the need to acknowledge and be thankful for what we have in Australia, which is unique in the world, and to do all we can to preserve it. As a form of benediction Barry and Jennifer then sang a powerful rendition of 'The Prayer' which evoked a very emotional response. Finally, when all the formalities were over many stayed for another cup of coffee and more chat. This will be an annual event so if you missed out this year, book in early for the next one.