A Walpole volunteer who has given more than four decades of service to his local community was among a field of outstanding winners at the 2021 WA Fire and Emergency Service Awards in Perth last night.
Alex Williams ESM, of Marine Rescue Walpole, received the Marine Rescue Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution in recognition of his dedication and commitment to community safety over 40 years.
Mr Williams remains heavily involved in the group and continues to deliver training through the award-winning Volunteer Marine Rescue Pathway Training Pilot Program.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said that with more than 10,000 kilometres of coastline in Western Australia, Marine Rescue groups played a critical role in keeping people safe on the water.
“Marine Rescue volunteers provide an essential service to our community, particularly in a state like Western Australia where the ocean is intrinsic to our way of life,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“Their local knowledge and experience is invaluable and forms a vital part of the State’s response when there is a crisis at sea.
“Marine Rescue teams work behind the scenes to educate both the recreational and commercial boating community, recruit new members and help them develop the skills to undertake complex water rescues.
“The winners of the 2021 WA Fire and Emergency Service Awards have all demonstrated outstanding commitment to their role and I congratulate them on their achievements.”
Other winners included Marine Rescue Albany, who took out the Marine Rescue Award for Outstanding Group Operations for their live-saving efforts when a man was swept into the ocean on the 2021 Labour Day weekend.
Zac Berglund from Marine Rescue Dampier received the Marine Rescue Award for Youth Achievement for his outstanding contributions to the Youth in Emergency Services program.
The 2021 WA Fire and Emergency Service Awards winners in the Marine Rescue categories are:
Marine Rescue Award for Outstanding Group Operations
Marine Rescue Albany
Marine Rescue Albany faced a challenging situation when two people became stranded in the ocean on the Labour Day weekend and demonstrated great resourcefulness in their response. When given the wrong GPS coordinates, the crew used their local knowledge to locate and save a man’s life while navigating rough seas, strong winds and large swell. Tragically, the volunteers were never able to locate the second missing person.
Marine Rescue Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution
Alex Williams ESM, Marine Rescue Walpole
From the coast to the track, Alex Williams has dedicated his life to ensuring community recreational areas are safe and secure. He started volunteering with Marine Rescue Walpole 40 years ago and continues to deliver training as part of the original award-winning Volunteer Marine Rescue Pathway Training Pilot Program. When he is not on the water, he is busy maintaining the Bibbulmun Track throughout the South West.
Marine Rescue Award for Youth Achievement
Zac Berglund, Marine Rescue Dampier
Marine Rescue Dampier’s youngest volunteer 25-year-old Zac Berglund has quickly grown into one of the most invested members. As a vital part of the Youth in Emergency Services program, Zac facilitates groups of cadets to not only build skills but discover their talents through challenging and motivating tasks. For Zac, volunteering is a gift of kindness to the community.
Marine Rescue Award for Marine Safety
Jurien Bay Marine Rescue
In the past 12 months Marine Rescue Jurien Bay has located 20 overdue boaties and been deployed to 25 incidents, most recently being alerted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority of an activated Personal Locator Beacon resulting in the successful rescue of five people after their yacht capsized in bad weather.
Marine Rescue Jurien Bay champions marine safety by running life jacket clinics, providing and promoting marine radio courses and acting as a collection point for expired flares and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons.
Volunteer Marine Rescue WA Commander’s Award
Marine Rescue East Kimberley
Since undergoing a period of transition, including the appointment of a new Commander, Marine Rescue East Kimberley has experienced a resurgence in membership and morale. Members have embraced the changes occurring around them by formalising and enhancing their training programs, boosting recruitment and generally displaying great enthusiasm and commitment to their volunteering.
For more information about the 2021 WA Fire and Emergency Service Awards visit dfes.wa.gov.au/awards
Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543