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Volunteer Marine Rescue members honoured

Volunteer Marine Rescue members
Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg: Dawn Smith received an Honorary Member award while Roger Moore received a National Medal at the recent AGM.

Members of Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg have been praised for their efforts and many years of support at the organisation's recent Annual General Meeting.

Dawn Smith, David Nelson, Roger Moore and Eric Beckmann received accolades for their various volunteer work within the club under the National Medal, Honarary Member and Life Member awards last week.

VMR Bundaberg public relations officer Graham Kingston said the National Medal, awarded to David and Roger, was not just a long-service award.

“The National Medal is awarded to emergency services workers who may have been exposed to trauma after 15 years service,” he said.

“It is available to personnel in the Defence and Police forces, as well as qualifying volunteer agencies such as marine rescue, SES and Rural Fire.

“David qualified from boat crew and radio operations, while Roger qualified from previous naval service and radio operations.”

Graham said other AGM award recipients included Dawn Smith, who was presented with the Honorary Member title, and Eric Beckmann who was awarded with the Life Member award.

“Dawn’s husband Bruce was a long-term member (joined in 1988), a Life Member of VMR Bundaberg and was awarded the National Medal in 2007,” he said.

“Dawn supported Bruce over this time as a worrying wife while he was at sea during activations and with fundraising events.

“Eric Beckmann is a 21-year veteran of VMR Bundaberg with contributions as boat crew, radio operator, social organizer and more recently chairing the fundraising committee that organised the Family Fishing Classic and the online raffle.”

VMR Bundaberg highlights 2020-21

Graham said the AGM also highlighted a summary of the year which included a total of 34 activations, resulting in 53 people and a dog being returned to the saftey of land.

“Our radio operators handled 16,500 radio calls and logged on 1,803 vessels with 26,049 persons covered by our free log on/off service,” he said.

“Overall, our volunteers contributed in excess of 12,000 hours.

“17% of activations were for search and rescue missions, 65% were for assistance with breakdowns or out of fuel and 24% of activations were conducted at night.”

Volunteer Marine Rescue members
The VMR Bundaberg crew training out on the water.

Graham said some of the more notable activations conducted by the crews included the search for a missing swimmer off Oaks Beach, Burnett Heads, and towing a disabled yacht back from the Fairway Buoy, which took eight hours.

He said the past year had also seen a modest improvement in the local, not-for-profit organisation's financial position.

“It was particularly pleasing to see the noticeable increase in generous, public donations and sponsorship in relation to our reduced income opportunities due to the COVID-19 situation,” he said.

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