ANTHONY WALLER – Superintendent, Zone Commander – Illawarra - Winner in Paid Capacity
Anthony Waller, a Superintendent with Fire and Rescue NSW, based in the Illawarra, has never been far from saving lives. In 2001 he was both the Sydney and NSW Lifesaver of the Year, and is presently education director and board member of Surf Life Saving NSW. But his professional input has been on that other hazard, fire. He has been a firefighter for 38 years, more than 20 of them as a firefighter educator. Among his operations, he was a team leader in an Australian earthquake task force in Christchurch. In 2017 he was Operations Officer in a NSW cyclone taskforce in Proserpine, Queensland. In the same year he was Base Manager in a flood evacuation operation the northern NSW.
PAUL MARSHALL – Captain of the Albury and Border Rescue Squad – Albury - Winner in Volunteer Capacity
Paul, a serving member of the Victoria Police Highway Patrol, is the captain of the Albury and Border Rescue Squad in the NSW VRA. He has promoted interagency cooperation locally, sharing his knowledge of how vehicles react to crashes and the investigative process that follows. He is also involved in the management of emergencies and critical incidents, bushfire awareness and frontline management. In 2017, he was part of a team that travelled to Vanuatu, teaching the local rescuers skills such as road crash rescue, vertical and swift water rescue. Once the job is done, he always actively checks on the welfare of rescuers and the victims involved.
Susith Adikari – ACT AmbulanceSusith is an intensive care paramedic and has dedicated 13 years to the Emergency Services for both domestic and international causes, most notably the British Columbia Bushfires (Canada) in 2017 and the recent Canberra bushfires in 2020. Along with his duty as a primary responder with the ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS), Susith is passionate about disseminating the wealth of knowledge and experience he has acquired over the years to help develop the next crop of graduate paramedics for ACT. With an altruistic commitment towards protecting the community, Susith completed a Masters in Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development to equip himself to face the changing times and challenges. He has held numerous positions as a member of the ACTAS and the ACT Rural Fire Services (RFS).
WENDY ROBERTS – Volunteer – Shoalhaven
Longevity in emergency services is commendable, but Wendy, having chalked up 58 years, might have set a record. A volunteer with the NSW RFS, based at Vincentia, Wendy has helped with welfare, logistics, fundraising and attended many fire incidents. She has been a member of the Erowal Bay Brigade, now the Crossroads Brigade. She has also devoted herself to the Jervis Bay Lions Club (38 years), Girl Guides, Camp Quality, Meals on Wheels and helped many residents with welfare needs. She has helped people with disabilities, and delivered meals to the socially isolated. In her remaining time, she has worked for the local “Litter Busters” to clean up the environment.
ANDREW RYAN – NSW Ambulance - Paid capacity
Years ago, Andrew Ryan became dedicated to the idea of providing a permanent round the clock rescue helicopter for the Illawarra region, and, beginning in 1998, he worked for months without pay with a paramedic team to medically man such a helicopter. That helicopter service is now renowned. Andrew has been involved in the response to many disasters, including the Thredbo Landslide, the New Zealand Earthquake and numerous bushfire emergencies. Andrew also performed a dangerous night-time helicopter rescue of a family trapped on a roof by floodwaters. He was also instrumental in the rescue and care of a workmate fatally injured in an accident near Robertson, where he cared for the victim’s family too.
Christopher Puschak – ACT Rural Fire Service - Volunteer capacity
Chris has been involved with the emergency services for 24 years and is currently working as Treasurer of the Hall Volunteer Rural Fire Brigade while also being an active volunteer Firefighter. He played a vital role in the 2019 fire season where he defended regions of Nerriga, Adaminaby, Tumut, and Orroral Valley. Here, he volunteered to do additional shifts and also stayed back to support the wellbeing of his crew since they had limited operational experience. Besides firefighting, he is a Venture Scout Leader and passionately shares his knowledge about abseiling, 4wding, canoeing and bushwalking.