LAST weekend's National Excellence in Lifesaving Awards in Sydney proved a significant night in the history of the Sunshine Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, with club members taking out not only one, but two of the top gongs on offer.
Life member Max Pettigrove was recognised as our nation's best when he was awarded 2017 Lifeguard of the Year for his commitment and professionalism to lifeguard services within the Sunshine Coast community.
Not only has Max served the community as a professional lifeguard for many years, he has also spent more than 30years as an active volunteer member to the Sunshine Beach club.
The Pettigrove name is well entrenched in the Sunshine Beach fabric, so it was only fitting to see one of our local legends acknowledged on the national stage.
Director of Lifesaving Scott Summers was then crowned Australian Lifesaver of the Year, a just reward for one of the hardest working and most dedicated volunteer lifesavers in the nation.
Scott's successful night at the recent Queensland Excellence Awards, where he was named Lifesaver and Operations Support Member of the Year, clearly left the national panel in no doubt as to his credentials and he was obviously a clear and deserved winner in the judges' eyes.
Of the four major awards on offer at the national level, Sunshine Beach has now won three of them, with Scott and Max joining 2015 Australian Volunteer of the Year winner Warick Redwood.
And while two of our members were being acknowledged for their achievements, it was a busy weekend closer to home with Sunshine Beach members attending to two major marine incidents.
Volunteer lifesavers Dave Gleeson, Damien Hopkins and Richard Spence-Thomas were faced with some testing conditions on the weekend, assisting emergency services with the body retrieval of a suicide victim at Hells Gate.
These members acted with professionalism and bravery while faced with some difficult and dangerous conditions during the retrieval, with their actions receiving significant recognition from the attending emergency services personnel.
And one can only sit back in amazement at the actions of young lifesaver Olivia Emanuel who acted with a level of calmness well beyond her years, as she rescued a female person who was found, lying face down in the water, by a surfer.
Without hesitation, Olivia removed the lifeless victim from the water and raced her back to shore, where she was met by waiting lifeguards Isaac Smith and Joshua Jones, who performed CPR on the woman for some 30 minutes before her vital signs returned.
The woman, a 23-year-old Swiss national, was then transported to Noosa Hospital, before being conveyed to the ICU ward at Kawana Hospital, where she remains on life support.
Olivia's actions are the result of years of training and commitment to the club nipper and lifesaving programs.
It is a clear reflection of the outstanding work that our volunteer lifesaving services provide across the Coast.
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