Fisher Australia Day Awards, acknowledging community service

Member for Fisher Peter Slipper with recipients of the Fisher Community Australia Day Awards 2012

Forty-two local residents were recognised for outstanding community service at the 13th annual Fisher Community Australia Day Awards, hosted by Member for Fisher Peter Slipper.
“These dedicated and hard-working residents don’t seek recognition for what they do, but Australia Day gives us an opportunity to say thanks publicly and to let them know that we do recognise their contributions, which are very much appreciated,” Mr Slipper said.
“Each year, the Fisher Community Australia Day Awards provide a great opportunity to give public recognition to these individuals and organisations that dedicate themselves to the community,” Mr Slipper said.
 
Fisher Australia Day Committee Member Bev Hall, “Wortley Youth Encouragement Award” recipients Marie and Jesse O’Neil and Member for Fisher Peter Slipper at the 13th annual Fisher Community Australia Day Awards

Youth workers recognised with Fisher Australia Day Award
A couple who have cut back on their paid employment to devote more time to helping Sunshine Coast youth, have been recognised for their service with a prestigious award by Member for Fisher Peter Slipper.
Mr Jesse and Mrs Marie O’Neil, who are the key drivers of Fusion Australia, at Buderim, were presented with the “Wortley Youth Encouragement Award” at the Fisher Community Australia Day Awards today.
“This is important, and very much deserved, recognition for Jesse and Marie, who are incredibly committed to local youth ad families and are making a big difference to many lives,” Mr Slipper said.
Fusion Australia offers programmes for high schoolers and youth groups, providing a friendly and safe environment, and helping build a sense of meaning and understanding, and develop self-esteem.
Over the past four years, the couple have scaled back their hours at their paid jobs, so as to be able to spend more time developing this important community youth support facility – with wonderful results.
Fusion helps the homeless, organises fun days and barbecues for families, youth adventure trips, outdoor education events and craft activities, conducts parenting courses for single mums, mentoring for troubled students and provides employment training.
Through these initiatives, Fusion Australia now makes a positive difference in the lives of some 170 youths each year, seeding wonderful outcomes for the community.
The “Wortley Youth Encouragement Award” aims to recognise and encourage a citizen or citizens who have demonstrated considerable dedication and commitment to the youth in the community.
The award is sponsored by Mrs Cherie Wortley and her sons Michael and James, in recognition of their late husband and father Trevor, who was himself a recipient of a Fisher Australia Day Award for his dedication to the community.
Trevor appreciated the fact that there is great potential in all young people and there is great value in giving them support and encouragement.
 
Bridget and Paula Powers, of Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue, with Member for Fisher Peter Slipper

Wildlife rescue twins awarded “Des Scanlan Memorial Shield” for community work
The Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue, of Beerwah, was presented with the “Des Scanlan Memorial Shield” for its work with injured and orphaned birds, and the Kookaburra Village Craft Group, at Caloundra, has been awarded for its fundraising for local charities.
The awards were presented on Australia Day by Member for Fisher Peter Slipper and the Fisher Australia Day Committee, to recognise those who volunteer their own time to make their community a better place to live.
“These dedicated and hard-working residents don’t seek recognition for what they do, but Australia Day gives us an opportunity to say thanks publicly and to let them know that we do recognise their contributions, which are very much appreciated,” Mr Slipper said.
Since 2000, the Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue has provided a 24-hour, 7-day a week rescue and support service for injured birds.
The total number of birds helped over the past 12 years is approaching 3000 – it peaked last year with some 874 birds being assisted and cared for by the volunteers.
Helen Powers, who helps manage the service with her daughters Bridget, Paula and Michelle, said the nomination was unexpected.
“They say everything has a heartbeat, and if we could save every injured animal on the planet, we would. We’d bring them all home with us if we could,” Mrs Powers said.
“We’ve all done it out of the goodness of our hearts and, if we can make a difference, that’s great. It’s nice that people have noticed what we do.”
Meantime, the Kookaburra Village Craft Group, at Caloundra, was recognised with an award for its support of various community charities over some 16 years.
Convenor Merveen Barnes said the nomination was completely unexpected, but wonderful all the same.
“I’m still on cloud nine at the moment. I feel really wonderful that someone has nominated us. I think Connie (Cooper – assistant convenor) and I did a little dance when we heard about it.”
The group charges its members an annual $5 membership fee and also small weekly fees, and host cent sales to sell their various knitted and sewn craft items – including toiletries bags, library bags, and swimming bags – which all helps them make annual financial contributions to the community.
The Kookaburra Village Craft Group has been in operation for some 16 years, having raised and donated some $20,000 to various charities over that time.
Member for Fisher Peter Slipper, his wife Inge Slipper and “Fisher Citizen of the Year” Robbie Schwartz. Mr Schwartz was recognised for 20 years of service to Caloundra lifesaving

Lifesaver named “Fisher Citizen of the Year”
A lifesaving veteran who saved a kite surfer’s life on the notorious Caloundra Bar on Boxing Day, has been recognised with a Fisher Community Australia Day Award.
Robbie Schwartz was named “Fisher Citizen of the Year” for 20 years service as a lifesaver, at the Fisher Community Australia Day Awards hosted by Member for Fisher Peter Slipper.
Mr Schwartz said it was wonderful to be recognised for his community involvement.
“I feel very honoured and humbled that I received the award. It is really special that people have recognised what I have done in the community,” Mr Schwartz said.
Mr Slipper said Mr Schwartz was one of 42 local voluntary community workers and groups who were recognised for their efforts at the 13th annual Fisher Community Australia Day Awards.
“Robbie works hard, he is enthusiastic; he’s made a very positive difference to public safety and is an inspiration to those around him,” Mr Slipper said.
“He’s a wonderful role model, and a very deserving recipient of the Fisher Citizen of the Year Award.”
Mr Schwartz has served at both the Kings Beach and Caloundra City surf life saving clubs, having served in that time as patrol captain, gear steward, radio operator, first aid officer, and particularly as a trainer for younger members.
His skills were put to good use on Boxing Day last year (2011) when he was involved in what he described as the most challenging rescue of his career, when he braced wild weather, massive waves and treacherous seas on the Caloundra Bar to rescue a kite surfer who was entangled, exhausted and in great danger.
“He was wrapped up and entangled in his kite, and had to be untangled between waves,” Mr Schwartz said. “It really was touch and go for a minute. It just gives me goose bumps to think about it and read the report into the incident.”
Mr Schwartz has since had coffee with the kitesurfer, who admitted he was extremely exhausted and unsure how much longer he could last, but had been given the “gift of life” as a result of the rescue.
 The Fisher Awards
The annual Fisher Community Australia Day Awards were established by Mr Slipper in 2000, to recognise those who volunteer their own time to make their community a better place to live.
Recipients are recognised for their contributions in the areas of community service, industry and commerce, the arts, sport and recreation, and for their work with seniors’ groups, sporting clubs, youth organisations and the like.
Nomination forms for 2013 are available from Mr Slipper’s office.