AN SES officer with more than 20 years’ experience and a Marine Rescue NSW volunteer who helped unite three coastguard units are the major winners of the 2014 Pride of the Illawarra Emergency Services Officer of the Year Awards.
Grant McClory, the learning and development officer for the SES Illawarra South Coast was given the major award for a professional, while Marine Rescue NSW Lake Illawarra deputy unit commander Graeme McCrudden received the award for top volunteer.
The awards were presented at a sold-out gala dinner held at the University of Wollongong on August 8, attended by more than 350 guests, including representatives of the region’s seven emergency services, Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, the mayors of Shellharbour and Wollongong, state and federal politicians and Rotary district 9675 governor Barry Antees.
Pride of the Illawarra recognises the efforts of emergency services officers who go above and beyond in serving the community. The awards, in their fourth year, are organised by the Rotary Clubs of the Illawarra but such is their success that in 2015, they will be expanded across the Rotary district, which stregtches from Sydney CBD to Kiama and western Sydney.
Mr McClory, or Macca to most, has attended nearly every major disaster in the Illawarra over in the past 25 years and he is passionate about cross-agency training.
‘‘It’s an honour and a privilege,’’ he said after receiving the award.
‘‘I work with a great team and we have a fantastic group of volunteers.’’
Mr MrCrudden was unable to attend the awards due to illness. A volunteer with Marine Rescue NSW for six years - he oversees maintenance operatins and ICT systems at Lake Illawarra unit.
The full-timer carer used his skills to help bring the Wollongong, Lake Illawarra and Hill 60 coastguard units together to form Marine Rescue Port Kembla.
Section winners: Ambulance Service of NSW, Neil Shepherd; VRA, Darryl Schlodder; RFS, Ian Cox; SES, Grant McClory; Marine Rescue NSW, Graeme McCrudden; NSW Police, Stewart Arnold; Fire and Rescue NSW, Ken Lawrence.