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Four volunteer surf lifesavers were among the 28 emergency service personnel announced as finalists in the Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards 2020 by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott this week.​

The Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards (RESCAs) recognise emergency service personnel who have gone above and beyond their call of duty and reflect the Rotary moto of ‘Service above Self’. This is the first year that Surf Life Saving NSW volunteers have been included in the awards. 

The RESCA awards are community-nominated and are the only awards where Emergency Services personnel, both paid and volunteer, are recognised in a combined awards program. 

Awards finalists are drawn from Fire and Rescue NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service, the NSW State Emergency Service, Marine Rescue NSW, Surf Life Saving NSW, NSW Ambulance and the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association. 

Surf Life Saving NSW volunteers named as finalists in the awards are Tracey Hare-Boyd and Michael Wasley from the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch, Anthony Bellette from Batemans Bay SLSC and Karen Hickmott from Toowoon Bay SLSC. 

Minister for Emergency Services, David Elliott said the awards are a fantastic opportunity to shine a light on the enormous contribution of emergency services workers. 

“The past year has been an exceptionally challenging one for our community, and this is an appropriate time to pause, reflect and congratulate the individual emergency services for the service that they have provided,” Minister Elliott said. 

“As a state we are hugely indebted to all our emergency services men and women. We should never take for granted their commitment to protecting us and it is important that we acknowledge the unsung heroes who repeatedly go above and beyond,” he said. 

Surf Life Saving President, George Shales OAM said that being named as a finalist in the RESCA Awards was a considerable achievement and recognition of the selfless and ongoing commitment surf lifesavers give to emergency services and the wider community. 

“As President of SLSNSW, I am thrilled to acknowledge the nomination of our four finalists in the RESCA awards and thank them, on behalf of the Board, for what they do for their Surf Life Saving clubs and the community as a whole,” said George Shales. 

Winners from each emergency service agency will be announced at the Awards presentation on Friday 30 October 2020. The overall winners from NSW will then represent the state at the National Awards to be held on 23 November 2020, hosted by Joint Patrons, the Governor General, His Excellency the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Mrs Linda Hurley. 

The Dorothy Hennessy Emergency Services Youth Scholarship is run in conjunction with the RESCA awards. The scholarship is for a volunteer aged up to 25 for training and educational materials or equipment. Commissioners from the Marine Rescue NSW, Surf Life Saving NSW, NSW RFS, NSW SES, and the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association each nominate an outstanding individual for consideration of the scholarship. This year, Thomas Kennedy from Wamberal SLSC, has been nominated. 

Surf Life Saving NSW Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards 2020 Finalists

ANTHONY BELLETTE – Batemans Bay SLSC – Club Captain – Batemans Bay 

Like so many other emergency workers, Anthony Bellette’s moment came when the most recent devasting bushfires threatened the township of Malua Bay on the Far South Coast. Anthony managed thousands of people seeking shelter at the Bateman’s Bay Surf Club and communicated with other emergency services. When Batemans Bay SLSC became a recovery centre, he managed that as well. Thirteen years a lifesaver and now captain of Bateman’s Bay SLSC, Anthony has devoted himself to the club and its operations. 

TRACEY HARE-BOYD – Sydney Northern Beaches Branch – President – Sydney’s Northern Beaches 

Tracey Hare-Boyd, the first female President of Surf Life Saving Northern Beaches Branch, manages a membership of more than 19,000 in one of the biggest surf lifesaving branches in the nation. With a host of awards to her name, she has been on hand to assist round the clock. When storms lashed the Sydney region in November last year, Tracey was part of the emergency call-out team that went out to help members of the community identified at high risk, without power and needing medical assistance. She and her team went door knocking at 400 homes in Belrose, Davidson, Forestville, Killarney and Duffy’s Forest. Eighteen people were identified as requiring medical assistance and four needed hospitalisation. 

KAREN HICKMOTT – Toowoon Bay – Director of Finance – Toowoon Bay 

Karen Hickmott has used her extensive experience as the parent and advocate of two children with significant additional needs, her formidable management and organizational skills and her passion and dedication for helping others to make a difference for many members of the community but particularly other special needs families.  After joining Toowoon Bay SLSC in 2016, she initiated and continues to run the Toowoon Bay Stingray Nipper programme for children with additional needs.  Karen has also brought her business skills to the role of Director of Finance for the Club for the last three years and is active in all areas of the club including management of major fundraising events, sponsors and grants, patrolling, competing in club competitions and even serving in the bar! 

MICHAEL WASLEY – Sydney Northern Beaches Branch – Deputy President 

With almost 30 years of service in the surf lifesaving movement, Michael Wasley has contributed at club, branch, state, national and international levels. Michael was selected by SLSA to travel overseas to train and educate lifesavers in the South Korean Lifesaving Association, Police and the YMCA. Last year he won the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Lifesaver of the Year award for the second time and is always encouraging youngsters to become part of the Surf Life Saving Movement. Michael has conducted four seasons as Carnival Director of Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Special Needs Championships, which he started in 2017. Following the success of this event in 2019, Michael was appointed carnival director for the first SLSNSW State Championship Inclusive Event which is now a fixture of the Championship program. 

Surf Life Saving NSW Dorothy Hennessy Emergency Services Youth Scholarship Finalist: 

Thomas Kennedy - Wamberal SLSC 

Thomas helped his Wamberal patrol win Patrol of the Year last year and was an Athlete of the Year finalist. He joined Wamberal SLSC as a volunteer in 2012 and three years ago became a professional lifeguard with Central Coast Council. Tom spends more than 50 hours a week on the beach and is on-call in the off-season. He has given patient support assistance at Gosford Hospital, sought higher qualifications in rescue work and has taught beach safety to children. 

Thursday 27 August 2020