Described as a “real-life superhero” Leanne Lawrence has a strong dedication to helping others through various roles she has taken on within the Gin Gin community.
Leanne has been recognised as a strong and independent female leader as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories initiative.
Currently, Leanne is the school chaplain for Gin Gin State School and Mt Perry State School, with some students affectionately calling her “Miss Chappy”.
“If a teacher notices something isn’t quite right with someone, they let me know and I catch up with them to help them work through it,” she said.
“I often use different analogies for the kids to help them become aware of their own potential and what they can achieve.”
Leanne's journey to becoming “Miss Chappy” came from a background of helping as she worked with the Queensland Ambulance Service for 10 years between the Bundaberg and Gin Gin communities.
“With my new job as a chaplain, I wasn’t able to work enough hours with the ambulance service to maintain my skills, so I had to finish up even though I really enjoyed it,” she said.
“Then, a position as a fire fighter became an option for me to stay involved with the emergency services.
“My brother had been in the fire service for several years and he asked if I had ever thought about joining.
“I thought of it as a bit of a boy’s job at first but then I decided, well I can do all of those things!”
In 2013 Leanne became a fire fighter and said she loved every minute of her role and is still involved in the service today.
“I love the comradery within our crew and the support we give each other,” she said.
Leanne said her commitment to giving back to the community and passion for helping and supporting others had been instilled in her from her own parents.
“My dad was an ambo for 28 years and my mum was heavily involved in fundraising for the ambulance and was always a part of the school P&C when I was growing up,” she said.
“The Gin Gin State School creed ‘we are a community working together to be the best that we can be' really resonates with me.
“My faith gives me the strength to get through the tough times and motivates me to want the best for my community.
“I love my community and that’s why I do what I do.
“Surrounding yourself with people who fill up your cup is also important.”
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