GALLERY: Pride of the Illawarra awards launch

The top brass from the state’s emergency services joined a cavalcade of politicians, Rotarians and past winners at the launch of the Pride of the Illawarra Awards yesterday.

Now in its third year, the awards are endorsed by the seven NSW emergency service organisations and provide an opportunity to thank those who support our community in its times of greatest need.

The awards’ co-ordinator Dot Hennessy, who was responsible for rounding up the host of commissioners, members of Parliament, a minister and mayors into the Bendigo Bank Aerial Patrol’s headquarters at Albion Park yesterday, said the launch came at a special time considering the challenges all emergency services had faced.

‘‘These guys do a wonderful job and we are in such safe hands...they are always here for us in the Illawarra,’’ Ms Hennessy said.

She said the awards  were not designed to replace the individual agencies’ own bravery or service awards, but to uncover and recognise ‘‘unsung heroes’’ who had acted selflessly or provided exceptional service to the community purely for the nobility of their profession and the service organisation they proudly represented.

The awards see 24 finalists selected from the SES, NSW Ambulance Service, NSW Marine Rescue, NSW Police Force, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association.

There are winners for each service and two overall winners – a full-time paid officer and a volunteer.

Nominations close  March 31 and can be made at the Pride Emergency Services Awards website: www.prideoftheill awarra.com.au or  contact Ms Hennessy on 0412120314.

Winners will be announced at a gala awards night at the University of Wollongong Hall on August 9.

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