NSW Ambulance paramedic Jessica Whittaker, of Dapto station, has been named overall winner for an officer in paid capacity at the 2020 Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards (RESCA).
Ms Whittaker, of Port Kembla, was recognised for dedicating her time to the health of her community as well as the environment.
When she is not helping those in need during her day job as a paramedic, she is trying to make the environment healthier.
Mr Whittaker runs Plastic Wise Port Kembla which draws attention to environmental problems and organises solutions.
She has planted many trees in the suburb, helped upgrade the public school playground and organised a community grocer.
She has also been involved in clean-ups at beaches and at pollution incidents such as coal sludge found recently in Figtree Creek and polystyrene waffle pods that were blown into the West Dapto area and local dams and waterways.
Ms Whittaker also works with Our Community Project community centre in Port Kembla which has worked with council and bushcare groups to plant trees. She has also been involved in the FOGO campaign and bike campaigns.
NSW Rural Fire Service Shoalhaven volunteer Wendy Roberts took out the title for an officer in a volunteer capacity after 58 years' dedication to her community as a firefighter.
The two winners will got on to represent the state at the national awards on November 23.
All 28 finalists were nominated by the community at the only awards ceremony where all emergency services personnel, both paid and volunteer, are recognised in a combined program.
And in a challenging year for everyone, including emergency services, 2020 saw the highest number of nominations in RESCA's history.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott congratulated all winners on Sunday night and said the record number of entries was a tribute to the incredible and tireless dedication of all emergency services personnel.
"It takes a committed person who values their community to put themselves on the frontline when disaster strikes. I want to thank all the winners and finalists for being the people the community turns to when they need help," Mr Elliott said
- Fire and Rescue NSW - Anthony Camilleri - Bankstown
- Marine Rescue NSW - Alex Percival - Bermagui
- Surf Life Saving NSW - Anthony Bellette - Batemans Bay
- NSW Ambulance - Jessica Whittaker - Dapto
- NSW Rural Fire Service - Wendy Roberts - Shoalhaven
- NSW State Emergency Service- David King - Hawkesbury
- NSW Volunteer Rescue Association Finalists - Joshua Rickard - Albury
- Dorothy Hennessy OAM Emergency Services Youth Scholarship winner - NSW Rural Fire Service's Theodore Scholl of Rappville Brigade
- Overall Officer of the Year in a Volunteer Capacity - NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer Wendy Roberts, of the Shoalhaven.
- Overall Officer of the Year in a Paid Capacity - NSW Ambulance paramedic Jessica Whittaker, of Dapto.
- The Rotary NSW Emergency Services Awards prepare to recognise first responders after busy start to 2020
- 2019: Fire & Rescue NSW Illawarra zone commander named emergency services officer of year
- 2017: Bulli firefighter Daniel Hatton named Rotary NSW Emergency Services Officer of the Year
- 2016: Winners named in Rotary NSW Emergency Services Community Awards: photos
- 2015: Bulli mum named officer of the year
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