Scenic Rim quiet heroes honoured in Australia Day Awards at Beaudesert

SCENIC Rim's annual Australia Day Awards were held at The Centre Beaudesert, with family and friends turning up to watch loved ones being acknowledged for their value to the community.

Cr Duncan McInnes, who was himself congratulated for being a recipient of the Order of Australia, served as emcee for the proceedings and introduced Australia Day Ambassador Matthew Ames to the stage.

Mr Ames, who had lost all four limbs to infection, spoke about the beauty of the Scenic Rim and the good fortune of all who lived in Australia, not for the scenery or the weather but for the people who are always ready to help in times of trouble.

Among the nominees were emergency personnel and volunteers who helped carry the load of fellow citizens during the bushfires that tore through the region before Christmas.

Cr Christensen said this year's Australia Day Awards were being presented in the context of what had been a challenging time for many in the region with drought and bushfire.

"From my first-hand involvement with the bushfires I am also very aware of the personal impact that these have had on many people throughout the Scenic Rim," he said.

"We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the tremendously brave men and women involved in these firefighting efforts.

"They faced the most challenging of conditions and fought tirelessly to save lives and property across our region.

"It's evident our emergency service personnel put life and limb on the line to help protect local communities.

"It was not just those on the fire lines - logistics, planning, communication and our SES played a strong support role."

Many of the nominees for the Citizen of the Year Awards were among those who had been involved in the firefighting and community recovery efforts.

"Our region has been tested but has shown remarkable resilience to stand together through these challenges and to look to the future to be stronger as a result," Cr Christensen said.

"All of our award nominees are of an extremely high calibre and those of you who were nominated should be proud of the contribution you have made to your community."

Citizen of the Year aged 16-30 went to Boonah State High School's captain of 2019, Grace McDonald, who was nominated for inspiring other students to step up and become involved in their school and local community. Ms McDonald was involved in school fundraising activities and was editor of the school magazine and was an Interact member.

Runner up was Katelyn Wall who worked during the Canungra bushfires to help local residents and their animals.

Mark Ayers was awarded Citizen of the Year in the 31-65 age category.

As first officer of the Beechmont Rural Fire Brigade, Mark Ayers led his team to protect the Binna Burra/Beechmont community during the unprecedented Sarabah bushfire event over 18 days in early September 2019.

Runners up were:

Mark Doble, nominated for his contribution to the Birnam Rural Fire Brigade as second officer, air base operator, air observer, trainer and crew leader.

Beaudesert Community Kindergarten president Anita Kleinschmidt, recognised for her patience, professionalism and strength of character to ensure the health and wellbeing of children and the kindy.

Jeffrey McConnell, who served for eight years as Scenic Rim State Emergency Service Local Controller,

Damon Rockliff, nominated for his unwavering commitment to the Canungra Rural Fire Brigade.

Citizen of the Year aged 65+ went to Frank White, nominated for his outstanding contribution to the Tamborine Mountain community, and throughout the Scenic Rim region, through his work as a volunteer minister and local SES member.

Runners up included;

Edmund (Eddie) Fenton who passed away suddenly in October 2019 while the Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens volunteers were preparing his Australia Day Award nomination.

Barbara Kenny, Queensland Coordinator of the Quilts of Valour project, nominated for her dedicated and passionate approach to her role caring for the elderly and veterans and others throughout the Scenic Rim, always giving generously of her time. S

Lesley Klan, nominated for her strong sense of community and passion for helping others was recognised in her award nomination by members of the Barney View and Rathdowney communities.

Retired careworker Gwenda Schneider, nominated for her efforts in the past six years in helping to grow the Boonah District Garden Club of which she has been secretary, president and bus convenor.

Volunteer driver Sam Van Tuinen is considered an inspiration, having volunteered since 2006 to transport Scenic Rim residents to specialist medical appointments in Logan and Brisbane, before retiring recently at the age of 80.

The Mayor's Award was presented to Lesley Klan and a special commendation award for community involvement went to the Kooralbyn Valley Community Development Association for their involvement with the Arts Ablaze conference and festival that put Kooralbyn on the map in October.

This story Scenic Rim quiet heroes honoured in Australia Day Awards first appeared on Beaudesert Times.