RFDS Local Hero Award Recipients Announced

Date published

17 May 2017
Gavin and Stephen Scurr

Local Hero Award (Brisbane region) – Gavin and Stephen Scurr, Pinata Farms

Since witnessing firsthand the work of the Flying Doctor after one of their station managers and his wife were seriously injured in a car accident, Gavin and Stephen Scurr have become ardent supporters of the Flying Doctor. The Brothers are return participants in the Outback Car Trek, a long-running fundraising initiative with the RFDS as benefactor, both Steven and Gavin have contributed to the success of the Outback Car Trek by supplying participants with much needed food and resupplies when they were unable to make it to the scheduled pit stop due to prevailing conditions and road closures.

Sarah Lette

Local Hero Award (Bundaberg Region) – Sarah Lette

In 2015, Sarah Lette was involved in a two car accident just outside of Eidsvold. The drivers of both vehicles were trapped. While the woman passenger from the other car managed to get her three children out of the wreckage, Sarah took her mobile phone and ran further up the road to where she could get mobile reception and called Triple 0. When Sarah made it back to the crash site, she managed to pull her boyfriend from the wreckage, feet first through the driver's window. The passenger form the other vehicle said Sarah was calm and logical in a tense situation. She said if not for Sarah's cool head, her daughter may not have survived, after the seatbelt she was wearing caused massive internal injuries. Once paramedics arrived, they were taken to Eidsvold Hospital before being transported by the RFDS to Brisbane.

Mario and Jo

Local Hero Award (Roma Region) - Mario and Jo Strasek

Mario and Jo Strasek, owners of the St George Hotel, have for the past 10 years been tireless workers and promoters of RFDS Qld. Their donation tins can be seen on the bar and weekly raffles and money spins regularly raise around $4000 to $6000 per year for the Flying Doctor. They are also proud sponsors and supporters of events and other fundraising activities in the local community which raise funds for RFDS; including the St George Races, local balls, car rallies and horseback rides.

Tooloombilla Rodeo and Campdraft

Local Hero Award Winner - Tooloombilla Rodeo and Campdraft (Charleville Region)

The Tooloombilla Rodeo and Campdraft is a major local event that increases the community access to recreational, sporting and social opportunities. Supported by local families and businesses, the committee proudly donates thousands of dollars to the RFDS and the Mitchell and Injune Ambulance services annually.

Liz Lynch accepting the award on behalf of Leslie

Local Hero Award (Longreach Region) – Leslie Delandell (Accepted on Behalf of Liz Lynch)

Leslie is the dedicated nurse at the medical centre in Jericho. She is always willing to drop whatever she is doing to help someone in need, whether that be preparing someone for an RFDS flight, or even helping out someone's sick pet. Leslie is renowned for going above and beyond to help those in need in her small community, and that includes coming to the aid of people well outside of her working hours.

Unfortunately Leslie was unable to attend today as she is watching her niece compete at Horse Riding championships in Gympie. Long term friend Liz Lynch who is a member of the RFDS Longreach team will be accepting the award on Leslie's behalf.

Nathan Mcdonald

Local Hero Award Winner (Mount Isa region) – Capt. Nathan McDonald

Helicopter pilot, Capt Nathan McDonald offered great assistance to RFDS recently in responding to two separate primary response accidents.

Nathan was extremely helpful and showed excellent flying skills in transporting one of our doctors and one of our nurses, plus equipment to a patient with critical injuries following a fall from a horse on Norfolk and then again for a patient with serious injuries following a helicopter accident on Riversleigh. He ensured that the medical crews got to the scenes as rapidly as possible so the patients could receive rapid treatment without delays.

John and Tina Bass

Local Hero Award Winner – John and Tina Bass, Queensland Linen Service (Rockhampton)

John and Tina Bass took over the Rockhampton Steam Laundry business about two years ago. Rocky Steam Laundry donated their laundry costs to the RFDS at no charge after the owner's daughter was transported by the Flying Doctor when she was born. John and Tina have continued to clean our laundry free of charge since they have taken over the business, now called Qld Linen Service. The savings to the Rockhampton base due to this generous act is greatly appreciated from everyone at the base.

Joan and George Harriman

Local Hero Award Winner – Joan and George Harriman (Cairns Region)

For over thirty years, Joan and George have been the primary organisers of the Reedybrook Cricket Carnival, held at their cattle property near Mt Garnet. The weekend of cricket is attended by teams from all over North Queensland, from Townsville to Hughenden and everywhere in-between. Averaging about $40,000 or more each year in donations from auctions, food and drink sales and entry fees, all proceeds are generously donated to the RFDS.

Tracy Forshaw

Spirit of John Flynn Award – Tracy Forshaw

Tracy has been a very long term RFDS supporter and contributor. Tracy has been the coordinator of the Gregory Downs RFDS Clinic for the last 17 years including arranging crew transport, meals, and clinic building caretaking with the great support of the Gregory CWA.
She was the co-project manager for the $260,000 Gregory Downs Clinic Renovation Project in 2011-12. Without her dedication, determination, influence, and resourcefulness this project wound have never reached fruition.
Prior to Tracy her mother-in-law Maud Forshaw was the clinic coordinator for 8 years and was instrumental in the development of the original clinic building so there has been a long term Forshaw family commitment.
Tracy and her husband Ian have been the go to people for RFDS evacuations from Gregory Downs for over 25 years and Tracy got Ian to 'volunteer' to be the handyman for all clinic repairs.

Pauline Hedges

Local Hero Award Winner - Pauline Hedges (Townsville Region)

Pauline is in her mid 80s and continues to support the RFDS clinics in Pentland. She picks up the RFDS Medical team and takes them to and from the hall where the clinic is run. Despite her years, she also helps load and unload the equipment. Pauline is extremely accommodating and willingly waits for the doctor as he conducts home visits around town; an act which is completely voluntary for Pauline.

Spirit of John Flynn Award - Barbara Shephard

Barbara has been a remote nurse in Coen for over 40 years, often working independently or in close liaison with the RFDS in promoting health, providing a quality service and saving the lives of visitors and locals in The Cape.
Barbara served for many years on the QLD RFDS Board and in 2009 received an Order of Australia Medal in recognition of her services to Indigenous Health Worker Training and rural health.
She has worked tirelessly in her community offering more of herself than what she was paid to do - because this is her home. Over many years she has supported fundraising for the RFDS and supplied the private airstrip for the removal of emergency evacuations.

Spirit of John Flynn Award - Lawrence Parsons
Lawrence was for many years the RFDS team's "pick up" and "drop off" person. He would meet the plane every fortnight and transport our team from aircraft to clinic and return. He was also a long term Medical Chest Holder for RFDS. On some occasions Lawrence even cut his holidays short to ensure our team was looked after. It is the absolute selflessness that sees Lawrence today awarded a 2017 RFDS Spirit of John Flynn Award.