Rescuers join hero list
RAINBOW Beach lifeguards Lleam Rees and Dean Robertson have been hailed disaster heroes for their contribution in evacuating households during the Queensland floods.
The two men were acknowledged for their community spirit, bravery, courage, resilience and strength with an official citation medal issued by the State Government.
Lleam, 24, and Dean, 21, were presented their medals at the annual Rainbow Beach Surf Life Saving Club dinner and awards night. They are both members of the club.
They were recognised for evacuating people from Brisbane homes as floodwaters rose and peaked.
They motored around in dangerous floodwaters aboard surf rescue boats in the dark to rescue stranded residents.
"We were called to different areas of Brisbane," Dean told The Gympie Times.
"There was no question of whether or not to assist. It's the duty of a lifeguard to save lives.
"We have a set of skills that means it is our duty to make use of them when required."
While they often return to the Rainbow Beach lifeguard tower during summer months, both Lleam and Dean were living in Brisbane when disaster struck.
They scored coveted positions as lifeguards at Southbank.
Behind the citation medal
A special citation medal was struck to acknowledge the outstanding work of volunteers during the flood and cyclone disasters that affected Queensland over the summer of 2010-11.
The medals are produced on a rolling basis and distributed as they become available from the manufacturer.
This particular medal is for community members rather than the uniformed services like police, emergency services and Australian Defence Force personnel who were recognised by a specific medal struck for them.
To be acknowledged with a government citation medal, a recipient must first be nominated by a member of the public.
Anyone can nominate a local hero by filling in the nomination form and having it endorsed by a local councillor, state or federal MP, emergency services or army personnel, police officer, public servant or charity worker.
Thousands of medals have been presented to ordinary people who did extraordinary things to help their fellow Queenslanders in need, since the medal was issued mid-2011.
Out of chaos comes order
People who go out of their way to help others during times of disaster are now eligible for the citation medal.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard wrote to the Queen requesting that a national emergency medal be incorporated into Australia's honours system.
Nominations for the medal are backdated to recognise those who helped in the Victorian bushfires in February 2009 and the Queensland floods during the summer of 2010/11.
The medal is awarded to those who perform extraordinary acts or services during a national emergency.
The purpose is to specially honour Australians who have gone out of their way to aid fellow Australians in times of need.