Finalists in the Rotary Districts of NSW Emergency Services’ Community Awards

Two Central Coast locals have been named finalists in the Rotary Districts of NSW Emergency Services’ Community Awards (RESCA).

The awards are designed to recognise emergency service personnel who have gone above and beyond their call of duty and reflected the Rotary moto of ‘Service above Self’.

In NSW, they are open to all personnel from Fire and Rescue, Marine Rescue, NSW Ambulance, Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service, Volunteer Rescue Association and Surf Life Saving NSW, with one winner from each of the seven service categories to be confirmed during a gala night on October 30.

There are also two major awards, Rotary NSW Emergency Service Officer of the Year Serving in a Volunteer Capacity, and Rotary NSW Emergency Service Officer of the Year Serving in a Paid Capacity.

This year, the Coast is being represented in the Surf Life Saving and Volunteer Rescue Association categories by Toowoon Bay’s Karen Hickmott, and the Central Coast Volunteer Rescue Squad’s Daniel Van Keimpema, who have both reached the finals.

Both have proven to be irreplaceable assets to their respective organisations and were described as such in the announcement confirming them as finalists.

“Karen has used her extensive experience as the parent and advocate of two children with significant additional needs, her formidable management and organisational 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, obtaining her Bronze Medallion and a raft of other awards, she initiated and continues to run the Toowoon Bay Stingray Nipper program 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,” Hickmott’s bio reads.

“Descending a cliff or winching up an injured person are part of Daniel Van Keimpema’s work as captain of the VRA Central Coast.

“When a young boy got his hand stuck in an escalator, Daniel was there and that rescue was seen by many on television.

“A paraglider’s misfortune crashing into a cliff at Crackneck Lookout was a bigger operation, requiring a descent by rope and winching up to safety.

“The Squad lays claim to being the busiest in the NSW and has many missions.

“Earlier this year, Daniel joined a Swift Water Rescue Team to do rescues amid severe flooding.

“When extensions to the Wyong Racing Club were being done, the squad had to vacate its home and Daniel went to work and found the squad a new home.

“Daniel is a valued member of the squad and the community,” Van Keimpema’s bio reads.

Two other locals are also in the running to receive the 2020 Dorothy Hennessy Emergency Youth Scholarship as part of the awards.

Wamberal SLSC’s Thomas Kennedy and the Rescue Squad’s Luke Wangman are two of just four finalists being considered for the scholarship whose recipient will receive $1,000 to put towards their training and education in their chosen emergency service.

Dilon Luke

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