They each received the award for very different reasons, but three of the city's former citizen of the year recipients agree the title has the power to change everything.
Together since the late-80s, the couple had been pivotal in setting up support groups for families in need.
Over the years, Mr and Mrs Lean established the Riverina Family Support Group and what would become the precursor to cancer charity Country Hope.
For Mr Lean, the recognition represented a valuable point of catharsis after grieving the loss of his wife only months before the award ceremony.
"It enabled me to share her story with the community, I received a lot of invitations to a lot of groups who wanted to hear it," Mr Lean said.
"We had always done our community work together, so this was a joint nomination even though it could not recognise her posthumously."
In 2018, it was Phil Hoey who took the title of Wagga's citizen of the year.
A paramedic since 1979, Mr Hoey has had a long involvement with a variety of health charities and organisations across the city and the state.
The title broadened his platform to discuss the areas of his passion.
"I think it highlighted the things I was doing that people weren't aware of," he said.
For more than four decades, Dianne Jacobson has been instrumental in fostering young talent across the region.
In 2017, her tireless work behind the scenes in Wagga's annual arts eisteddfod was recognised with the citizen award.
Receiving the honour opened many opportunities for Ms Jacobson to meet with people she may never have met otherwise.
"It was a rewarding year, I was invited to about six or seven meetings or luncheons to share about the eisteddfod," Ms Jacobson said.
"I had quite a few people come to [the eisteddfod] and help me after they'd seen me [win the award]. Some are still helping three years later."
As a current committee member for the upcoming Australia Day ceremony, Ms Jacobson has spent the past few weeks reading the qualifications of this year's six nominees for the citizen title.
This year's nominees are John Mason, Lynne Graham, Phillip McIntosh, Jennifer Currie, Ian Begg and Christopher Kanck.
"Any of them deserve to win, and they're in for a fabulous year when they do," she said.
"I was astounded when I was nominated then I convinced myself that I wouldn't win, so I was absolutely amazed when I did."
The past recipients agree that winning the title is somewhat arbitrary. Even just the nomination is a personal achievement.
"Regardless of what happens, the fact that you've been nominated is wonderful acknowledgement and support for what you have done in the community," Mr Lean said.
Mr Hoey said it would be understandable should this year's nominees feel a little uneasy ahead of Friday's announcement.
"They're all going to be nervous and anxious. If you weren't nervous you wouldn't be normal," he said.
"The beautiful thing about it is that you won't know it's you until the second they call your name."