2016 Finalists

On behalf of Rotary NSW Clubs and Districts we commend and congratulate all Emergency Services Members for the work they undertake in their jobs everyday and for their Service Above Self – where they go above and beyond in their local communities.  This year 107 inspirational Emergency Service Members were nominated for these prestigious awards from across New South Wales.

Congratulations to the 2016 Finalists of the Rotary NSW Emergency Services Community Awards.  You are amazing individuals that give so much back to your communities in addition to what you do in your role as an Emergency Service Member.  Thank you for being you!



Fire and Rescue NSW –  2016 Finalists



 F&R - Ron Jenkins1$

Ron Jenkins, Associate Chaplain – Rutherford

Ronald Jenkins was captain of the Telarah Fire Station in the Hunter Valley but suffered a burns injury and was retired. A position was created for him whereby, being a qualified counsellor with the Salvation Army, he became an honorary associate chaplain. Because of his firefighting experience, he was more able to mentor firefighters and offer advice. He was prepared to travel anywhere, even outside the Lower Hunter zone, was active in the Employee Assistance Program, and did blessings of fire stations. On one account, when asked to go to a fire station, he “just makes his presence known and then quietly offers his assistance when needed”.



F&R - Mellissa Madden$

Melissa Madden, Deputy Captain – Bangalow

Melissa Madden, deputy captain of 213 Bangalow Fire & Rescue NSW, has conscientiously carried out her duties in the volunteer Peer Support Program and in particular, since November 2014, the Commissioner’s Participative Council. The council was established to help facilitate improvements and innovation for firefighters and other employees within Fire and Rescue NSW. She has been described as “a powerhouse of innovation, ideas and creativity”.  She established the “Hydrant Hero” campaign, aimed at building community awareness for the need for effective street hydrants. She has engaged the community participation in identifying, clearing and maintaining their local hydrants.



F&R - Graham Parks$

Graham Parks, Captain – Leeton

Graham Parks, captain of Fire & Rescue NSW at Leeton, who has served for more than 30 years, has been a volunteer member of the station’s Peer Support Team, and has been working so hard at this that it is not uncommon for him to be counselling more than 10 firefighters at a time. His information and counselling, which has focussed on mental health, has gone beyond even the fire and rescue service. He provided counselling to the Jerilderie Rugby Club after one of their members died in a motor vehicle accident and Leeton High school and other community groups after the murder of a local teacher.



 F&R - Brad McWilliams$

Brad McWilliams, Senior Firefighter – Bathurst

Brad McWilliams, a senior firefighter with Fire & Rescue NSW, based at Bathurst, has gone beyond his duties as a firefighter, where even there his performance here has been exceptional. He has served in the Brigade’s Peer Support Team and has counselled and assisted members and their families after critical incidents, not only work-related but in personal issues. During four years in this role, he has travelled widely conducting training and awareness programs and in one instance, provided invaluable support after the suicide of a firefighter at a fire station. As a carer for a family member, Brad has lectured at the Charles Sturt University to Paramedical Services students on the needs of carers.



Marine Rescue Logo try RGB

Marine Rescue NSW –  2016 Finalists



 Marine - Ken Fletcher$

Kenneth Fletcher, Operations Officer – Port Macquarie

Kenneth Fletcher, a volunteer operations officer with the Marine Rescue Unit, Port Macquarie, had always been orientated to service to the community, through the RSPCA, surf rescue and training junior sporting teams. When obliged to retire from work due to injury, he devoted himself to marine rescue and participated in more than 20 rescues a year over more than 30 years. He has responded to callouts day and night in whether conditions that threatened his own life, and sacrificed special time with his family to come in to duty during peak holiday periods. When Port Macquarie was hit by severe flash flooding in 2012, he was at the forefront of clean-up efforts.




Czeslaw Lawicki, Deputy Unit Commander – Terrigal

Czeslaw Lawicki, deputy unit commander with Marine Rescue Terrigal, has been instrumental in obtaining vital equipment for the unit and giving first-aid training. Joining the unit after many years with the Toowoon Bay Surf Life Saving Club, he had the expertise to fill multiple roles, including first-aid Assessment with Marine Rescue NSW. Czeslaw has skill and willingness to help extending beyond the service. As a teacher at St Peter’s College, Tuggerah Lakes, he used saved the life of a boy who collapsed during an athletics carnival and whose heart stopped. He also aided a student at a surf camp on the mid-north coast who came off his surfboard, hit a sandbank and was badly injured.



 Marine - Victor Lawrence$

Victor Lawrence, Deputy Watch Officer – Broken Bay

Victor Lawrence, deputy watch officer for Marine Rescue NSW Broken Bay, has worked as a volunteer for more than 10 years, He has bene involved in numerous rescue operations he has been involved in in Broken Bay, Pittwater and the Hawkesbury River, ensuring in advance that all the vessels are in top working order. To this end he has gone to the base weekly to be part of team that maintains the engines, and has developed interesting training programs that have allowed members to develop their skill and knowledge. He has developed a strong working relationship with other units, including the NSW Police and local Rural Fire Brigades.



 Marine - Pete Taylor1$

Peter Taylor, Regional First Aid Trainer – Shoalhaven

Dr Peter Taylor, a regional first-aid trainer with Marine Rescue NSW Shoalhaven, started with the Volunteer Rescue Association Maritime Unit in the Shoalhaven in 1998. He had served as a doctor for the State Emergency Serviced in Rockhampton, specialising in cliff rescue. Helping in numerous maritime rescues, Peter became a qualified rescue vessel trainer. After the formation of Marine Rescue NSW, he has written a first-aid training manual for the organisation, and has since expanded on his role in recruiting and mentoring, writing and consulting on the latest edition first-aid manuals. In 2012-15, he participated in a Dream Cricket squad, which travelled nationally and internationally providing sport for disabled children.



NSW Ambulance Roundel Transparent RGB

NSW Ambulance – 2016 Finalists



 Ambo - David Kay$

David Kay, Paramedic – Kiama

David Kay has plenty of testimony to his more than 10 years of work as a paramedic, not the least from one man who found himself paralysed with a broken neck after a mountain bike accident at Kiama Downs. David’s quick and efficient response helped stabilise him and get him evacuated by helicopter to the Royal North Shore Hospital where extensive surgery restored the man almost to normality and averted quadriplegia. David, a Baptist churchgoer, who coaches junior soccer, raises thousands of dollars a year for charity, helps run a Christian surfers’ clinic and travels to Poland each year to help build a youth refugee camp, is described as “a real asset to the NSW Ambulance Service and the community”.



 Ambo - Kelvin Milne$

Kelvin Milne, Station Officer – Kiama

Kelvin Milne, an acting duty operations manager with the NSW Ambulance Service and a volunteer with the State Emergency Service, based at Kiama, started his career in 1994 and worked throughout the Sydney metropolitan area before arriving at the Illawarra in 1991. Among numerous management roles, he has been acting station officer and acting district inspector from Helensburgh to Eden. His tasks have included bus accidents at Jamberoo and Kangaroo Valley, the Canberra bushfires, floods in Dubbo and a racing yacht accident at Port Kembla. He has gone to great lengths to help fellow members in distress, and going public on television on a recent occasion obtained a $10,000 gift to an officer undergoing cancer treatment.



 Ambo - Grant Prendergast$

Grant Prendergast, Station Officer – Murwillumbah

Grant Prendergast, ambulance manager at Murwillumbah, has attended numerous incidents, using his qualifications as an intensive care paramedic, and is a long-standing and active member of the service’s Peer Support Group. But he has hardly been restricted to the local scene, having been to Africa as a volunteer in a charity organisation, Kenya Health, providing health care to impoverished and underprivileged communities. Grant has also worked as a paramedic in East Timor and the Solomon Islands and in both those countries has provided helicopter evacuations. A director of the Australian and New Zealand College of Paramedicine, he has NSW developed rescue programs particularly to evacuate injured people off Mt Warning.



 Ambo - Kobie Shaw - My BRAINS MATTER$

Kobie Shaw, Dispatch Officer – Sydney

Kobie Shaw, a control centre dispatch officer for the NSW Ambulance Service, based in Sydney, has taken the job of answering emergency calls and dispatching personnel virtually to a new level. In 2011, she talked the husband of a patient in cardiac arrest through CPR instructions. She instructed a man how to deliver breeched twins. In 2013 she handled the disastrous Blue Mountains bushfires, then helped fight the fires in her part-time position with Fire and Rescue NSW. As a volunteer with the St John’s Ambulance Brigade, she dealt with a patient who had suffered a seizure and cardiac arrest. In her spare time, she travelled to Nepal in 2014 to provide care for orphans.




NSW Rural Fire Service – 2016 Finalists



 NSWRFS_SueDevenyns sm2

Sue Devenyns, Senior Deputy Captain – Kenthurst

Sue Devenyns, senior deputy captain with the NSW Rural Fire Service, based at Kenthurst, worked four days on the Narrabri bushfires in 2009 as an aviation radio operator. She spent six days assisting a strike team in Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires. In 2013 she worked on the Howes Swamp Fire in the Hawkesbury. In 2014 she spent two weeks on the State Mine and Yellow Rock Fires as a communications officer, organising and dispatching strike teams and liaising with the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Sue is involved in many local community events and has been the primary force in the development of the “Firewise for Kids” program used in local schools.



 RFS - Andrew Luke$

Andrew Luke, Manager – Liverpool Range Zone, Willow Tree

Andrew Luke, full-time manager of the Liverpool Range Zone of the Rural Fire Service, also serving as a volunteer with the State Emergency Service and Volunteer Rescue Association, covers a huge area, taking in three local government areas, travelling long distances to liaise with staff and volunteers, keeping up standards and cooperating with other agencies. One account of him reads: “The great respect he receives from the volunteers and the community is not from individual acts, but from a constant dedication to his role as the leader of an emergency service. Through his selfless efforts beyond the norm, he is considered the quiet achiever, often at the expense of his own wellbeing.”



 RFS - Mark Murphy$

Mark Murphy, Operations Manager – Liverpool Range Zone

Mark Murphy, operations response and coordination officer in the Liverpool Range Zone with the NSW Rural Fire Service, puts in “120 percent” effort into his tasks, working himself to exhaustion. He assists with the annual Region North Exercise run by the Rural Fire Service and does a lot of training and mentoring with air attack supervisors and others involved in aerial firefighting. During major incidents he personally accommodates pilots he flies with as air attack supervisors. Beyond that, he offers advice and staff to members of the service when they go through hard times, and works with the Black Dog Institute. Mark also works with school cadets.



RFS - Paul Sweeney$

Paul Sweeney, Fire Investigation Officer – Macarthur Zone

Paul Sweeney, a fire investigation officer with the NSW Rural Fire Service and state duty officer with its Critical Incident Support Service, is committed to tackling arson. After attending a conference in the United States, he developed a strategy that led to the arrest of a serial arsonist here. He has trained and mentored volunteers in fire investigation and has assisted in the training of Korean fire investigators. Paul is regarded as an expert witness, presenting evidence in in criminal prosecutions. He has also preparing a paper on the subject to be delivered in the United States next year on the prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder among firefighters.




NSW  State Emergency Service –  2016 Finalists



SES - Mark Elsley$

Mark Elsley, Controller – Muswellbrook

Mark Elsley, a local controller with the Muswellbrook State Emergency Service, has focused much of his attention in acquiring a permanent, well-equipped base for the local unit. Based on the principal that the better trained and equipped a unit is, the more effective it will be, he has been at the forefront of the fundraising efforts to purchase much needed equipment, which includes an emergency generator, air-conditioners, training aids such as TV, DVD, a data projector, training mannequins, a marquee and a public address system. A member of numerous other community organisations, Mark promotes the SES through a fortnightly news column in a local paper.



SES - Pat Johnson$

Patricia Johnson, Volunteer – Bankstown

Pat Johnson, a volunteer operations officer with the State Emergency Service, based at Bankstown, began with her volunteer service in 1975 and at the age of 74 is going strong, focusing particularly on storm and flood emergencies. She also helps with a range of other activities, including coordinating volunteers for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service and parade in Sydney. She coordinates large-scale emergency services exercises involving NSW SES volunteers to act as casualties for other emergency services. She also procures many donations and opportunities for NSW SES volunteers and is the volunteer editor of the Volunteers Magazine.



SES - Danielle Osborne$

Danielle Osborne, Volunteer – Lightning Ridge

Danielle Osborne, a general land rescue volunteer with the NSW State Emergency Service, based at Lightning Ridge, has been a charter member of Land Rescue, Mine Rescue and the State Emergency Serviced for more than 30 years. She attends road crashes within a radius of 100 kilometres. She has remained calm, collected and confident, and has proved outstanding peer support for other members of the unit. Now running a business as a land valuer and serving as president of the Lightning Ridge Rotary Club, she has exemplified the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self”.



SES - Benjamin Tory4$

Benjamin Tory, Development Officer – Manly

Benjamin Tory, a team leader and regional expert with the State Emergency Service at Manly, spends 20 hours a week or more with the service, as a learning and development officer, working towards higher standards. He has also done distinguished work as superintendent with the Manly Warringah Division of the St John Ambulance. Here, he has devised a strategic plan for the division which has since been proposed as a system to be used by every St John Ambulance division. He is now employee of the NSW Ambulance Service, and based at Queanbeyan, where he has impressed with his clinical understanding and organisational skills, but keeps in regular contact with Manly.




NSW Volunteer Rescue Association –  2016 Finalists



VRA - Mark Beahan$

Mark Beahan, Captain – Narromine

Mark Beahan, captain of the Narromine Rescue Squad, has gone beyond the call of duty many times, including one occasion when someone died in traumatic circumstances and Mark, with the permission of family and police chose to clean the house up rather than have the family observe the scene of the death and then have to clean up. Mark has had, it is stated, “a passion for helping those in the community who slip through the cracks or go unnoticed”. Each year he does up old army vehicles for participation in the Anzac Day march and for that he arranges for one of the most disadvantaged pupils from each of the town’s three schools to go in the vehicles.



VRA - David Cotsios1$

David Cotsios, Deputy Captain – Batlow

David Cotsios, a deputy captain with the Volunteer Rescue Association, based at Batlow, was present at the Thredbo landslide disaster in 1997.A member of the Batlow Search and Rescue Squad since 1993, he has had to make time as he copes with a gruelling roster as an ambulance officer. He has used that knowledge and experience in giving first-aid lessons to his squad and counselling them. In the words of one volunteer as the “consummate professional, mentoring members of our squad, providing an anchor of knowledge and expertise…When members of our local community see him they are reassured by his aura of compassion, competence and a high standard of ethical behaviour and integrity.”



VRA - Allan Sheldon$

Allan Sheldon, Captain – Taree

Allan Sheldon, a member of the Taree Volunteer Association, Rescue Squad, started his working life as an apprentice mechanic and moved on to become an NRMA road serviceman, which gave him excellent credentials for building a new rescue truck for Taree, which has helped the Taree Rescue Squad in its role as the primary road crash rescue unit for the Manning valley and surrounding areas including Harrington, Krambach and Rainbow Flat. The squad was also the primary rescue response unit in the Ferris wheel incident at Old Bar in 2011. This practical work is supplemented by private personal contact Allan has had with members of the service and with people who have been rescued.



VRA - Shane Smith$

Shane Smith, Training Officer – Narromine

Shane Smith, a training officer with the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association, based at Narromine, has attended numerous local motor accidents and done search and rescue operations. In 2010, when Narromine Shire was hit by severe flooding, Shane assisted the SES and the rural community in general. He also looked beyond his local region, helping in such things as the bushfires in Coonabarabran in 2013, where he manned pumps and directed traffic, providing, as a volunteer said “a shining example of how emergency services can work together in times of crisis”. He has been busy in community events and for years has been heavily involved in the VRA’s “driver reviver” program.

Download a PDF of the 2016 Rotary NSW Emergency Services Community Awards Finalists shortly.