NEW AUSTRALIANS: Sherilyn Catbagan and her children at Dalby’s Australia Day ceremonies, 2021. Picture: Sam Turner
NEW AUSTRALIANS: Sherilyn Catbagan and her children at Dalby’s Australia Day ceremonies, 2021. Picture: Sam Turner

Mum celebrates citizenship following husband’s tragic passing

It was a moment of joyous pride and remembrance as Sherilyn Catbagan accepted her Australian Citizenship, but there was a person missing from the crowd watching on - her beloved husband Richard.

The monumental ceremony came just over month after her husband Richard and Denny Jade Caballa, both 37, drowned at Teewah Beach while attempting to save their children from a dangerous rip.

On the afternoon of December 6 bystanders desperately attempted to revive both men on the sands as first responders arrived at the scene, but it was sadly too late.

More than a month on, his wife Mrs Catbagan and several others were celebrated, as they became the nation's newest citizens during an Australia Day ceremony in Thomas Jack Park.

Mrs Catbagan said the event marked a momentous occasion for her family, as they continued to hold Richard in their hearts.

"I'm really thankful to become an Australian citizen, since I've always wanted to be one," she said.

"I'm so lucky to now be a part of this massive family."

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Mrs Catbagan said prior to their arrival, her family visited Richard at the Dalby Cemetery to pay their respects, and to remember the loving husband and father.

"Richard was the first one to come over here and he became a citizen, and I followed him soon after," she said.

"The kids were born here, so they're already citizens, so I was the last one to join."

Sunpork piggery, who employed Richard, played an integral part in Mrs Catbagan receiving her citizenship.

"I'm very thankful for Sunpork who sponsored Richard to be their worker, and I was able to be attached to that," she said.

"They are the reason why I was able to receive it today."

Mrs Catbagan said the family would join together to have a barbecue to mark her special achievement, while remembering their beloved Richard.


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