The 2021 Shoalhaven Emergency Services Community Awards (SESCA) have been launched.
Shoalhaven Mayor, Amanda Findley, who is also patron of the awards, officially launched this year's event at the Shoalhaven Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Nowra on Tuesday, February 2.
SESCA is the brainchild of four Rotary Clubs in the Shoalhaven - Berry, Bomaderry, Milton-Ulladulla and Nowra.
SESCA Committee chairman Phil Presgrave said it's the third year the awards have been organised in the Shoalhaven Local Government Area, with the category winners automatically going forward as nominees for the respective state awards.
"The aim of the awards is to recognise local heroes from the police and the six emergency service agencies that are so active in the Shoalhaven Local Government Area," he said.
"We are very much appreciative of their rapid responses when they are required to do so.
"The awards are also in keeping with Rotary's motto of 'Service Above Self', and acknowledge and celebrate the community service of NSW Police and Emergency Services personnel in the Shoalhaven, above and beyond their normal service activities."
While individual services have specific internal awards, SESCA is the only time that NSW Emergency Services personnel, both paid and volunteer, are recognised in a combined awards program in this local government area.
The awards are open to all Shoalhaven-based personnel, both paid and volunteer, from the NSW Police and Emergency Service Agencies in the Shoalhaven including - Fire and Rescue NSW; NSW Rural Fire Service; Marine Rescue NSW; NSW State Emergency Service; NSW Ambulance; Surf Lifesaving NSW; and NSW Police.
While NSW Police have a separate Rotary award, they are part of this scheme in the Shoalhaven, with the winner going into the State Police Rotary Award.
"It's great to be able to acknowledge our many emergency service personnel and the great work they do outside their service," Cr Findlay said.
"And there are so many out there doing so many wonderful things."
Nominations can come from community groups or individuals, fellow emergency services members or members of the public. And you have eight weeks to get your nominations in.
The Shoalhaven has brought its awards forward this year so they align with state awards.
This year Shoalhaven will have two groups of local award winners vying for state honours, both the 2020 and 2021 awardees.
It is also planned that other emergency service agencies like the Red Cross, St John Ambulance, NSW Parks and Wildlife Service (fire fighters) and military fire crews may be added in the future for the Shoalhaven awards.
However, the honour would be bestowed in the Shoalhaven only and winners would not go on to the state awards.
Nominations are available at the Shoalhaven Emergency Services Community Awards (SESCA) website at www.sesca.org.au.
And if you have any troubles with the nomination process you can contact Ambassador, Dr Peter Taylor, a past winner at state level for Marine Rescue NSW, at firstname.lastname@example.org (0429 485 045) or email@example.com.
While electronic nominations are preferred hard copy nominations are also available.
Funds raised from this program will go to Australian Rotary Health - PhD Research Scholarship investigating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Emergency Services Personnel, and local community projects to be determined by the participating Rotary clubs.
Nominations for the 2021 awards close at 5pm, Wednesday, March 31.
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