Batlow Volunteer Rescue Association Rotarian Eileen Miles was one of 24 finalists for Emergency Officer of the Year at the Rotary NSW Emergency Services Community Awards this month.
The night recognised four members from the Volunteer Rescue Association, the Rural Fire Service, the State Emergency Service, NSW Ambulance, Marine Rescue, and Fire and Rescue NSW.
Eileen said she that even though she didn’t win, she had a fantastic time at the awards night, held in Sydney.
“It was an honour to be selected as a finalist, and to represent the Batlow Search and Rescue Squad and the VRA,” she said.
“We were piped in to the Grand Ballroom along with our Services Commissioners – the Grand Ballroom is really grand! It was a really exciting night.”
Four hundred people attended the awards, including Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Troy Grant, who said he was in awe of the things achieved by local volunteers.
“If the government of NSW had to pay for the hours put in by volunteers they couldn’t afford it,” he said.
Eileen was presented with a plaque along with the other finalists, before the VRA Emergency Officer of the Year was awarded to a fellow Riverina citizen: Wagga VRA Captain Tim Lidden.
The Rotary District 9675 Governor Elect, Sue Hayward, who was on the selection panel, said she had been tasked with a hard decision.
“Choosing the 24 finalists was hard, choosing the six finalists was very difficult, choosing the two winners was extremely difficult,” she said.
“The calibre of all the nominations for 2017 was very high.”
The selection panel said they recognised Eileen for her extraordinary dedication to her squad.
“No volunteer rescue squad can do without equipment, and Eileen, at 65 possibly the oldest active female rescue officer in the NSW VRA, has devoted herself to that, working with the Batlow VRA squad,” they said.
“She has gained funding totalling $40,000 for a host of items including Stabilisation Equipment, Air Bags, Vertical Rescue Edge management, rechargeable scene lighting, hand-held two-way radios, computer and projection equipment for training purposes, and most recently a rescue manikin and audio visual training equipment.
“An active Rotarian, Eileen has been at the forefront of promotion of the VRA. That has included a presentation at a Careers Expo held at Batlow Technology School in October last year, giving students from three high schools an insight into opportunities for volunteering.”