An awards event that started in Wollongong so the community could thank its unsung emergency service heroes is about to go statewide and then national.
Emergency service and Rotary representatives from four other regions in NSW have visited the city to learn more about the Pride of the Illawarra Awards so they can introduce their own version next year.
Plans are also in train for regional awards to roll into state and national recognition for paid and voluntary emergency personnel from all seven services.
Rotary District 9675 Governor Garry Browne said the annual Emergency Services Officers of the Year Awards co-ordinated by the combined Rotary Clubs of the Illawarra was set for a major expansion in 2014.
"I am pleased to announce that Rotary will be expanding the concept state-wide next year," he said.
"Congratulations to Dot Hennessy and her team for creating such a worthwhile event. It is wonderful that we have this opportunity to acknowledge those who give so much to the community on a daily basis.
"Although each individual agency has its own bravery or service awards the Pride of the Illawarra Awards is conceived as a great way for the community to recognise those unsung heroes who do a selfless act, or provide exceptional service to the community, purely for the nobility of their profession and the service organisation they proudly represent."
Represented at the Wollongong awards were District 9685 past District Governor David Cook from the ACT and South Eastern NSW, Rotary District 9710 District Governor Maureen Manning from northern Sydney and the Central Coast, and Rotary District 9790 Assistant Governor Jan Para from South Western NSW and Central Victoria.
There were also emergency service counterparts invited to the awards by NSW State Emergency Service Commissioner Murray Kear to help drive the regional expansion.
Mr Browne said for Rotary it was important to honour unsung heroes in the community for their "service above self" and also acknowledge their families who supported them in supporting their community.
"Each one of you is a winner because through your human care, compassion and leadership you make the world a better place," he said.