QLD Disaster Heroes honoured

PREMIER Anna Bligh today congratulated the Queensland Disaster Heroes from Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions at a special recognition ceremony held for Queensland Week.

"More than 220 individuals were nominated from the Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions for their community initiative, bravery, courage, resilience and strength during the Queensland floods and we are joined by many of those nominees here today," Ms Bligh said.

"The Lockyer Valley was one of the worst hit regions of our state. Sadly, many lives were lost but from the devastation, stories of bravery and courage have emerged.

"These are the stories of those who waded through streets when the inland tsunami hit Grantham, those who rescued people in their tinnies and those who helped families and children get to their roofs.

"These are the people who, despite losing everything they owned, still helped others to safety. There are the business owners who despite sustaining damage to their premises, offered their time and equipment for free and worked for days to clear the debris.

"We pay tribute to those volunteers from the Gatton Distribution Centre who distributed and sourced donations and regularly worked 16 hour days for months after the floods. We recognise the tireless work of the Murphy's Creek Hotel staffers, who took in the displaced and provided comfort during those dark hours.

"Then there are the many volunteers who rose across the region - some even taking leave from their jobs - to clean and repair in every street, offer words of comfort and basic supplies like food and drink as the floods receded. They came from far and wide to help people they did not even know.

"Today is the day we get to say thank you on behalf of all Queenslanders for these acts of bravery, selflessness and the sense of compassion - and above all, their undying Queensland spirit.

"Our challenge moving forward is to recover and build a stronger Queensland, and your selfless work will serve as an inspiration in that task."

Each eligible nominee will receive a commemorative medal as a reminder of their contribution at each of the 10 recognition ceremonies being held in the affected regions across the state.

As well as today's Lockyer Valley event, ceremonies will be held in Townsville and Tully (Sunday 5 June), Rockhampton (Monday 6 June), Emerald (Tuesday 7 June), Bundaberg (Wednesday 8 June), Toowoomba and Ipswich (Saturday 11 June) and Brisbane (Sunday 12 June).

Queenslanders were given the opportunity earlier this year to come forward and nominate those worthy of this honour through an open nomination process.

"It was up to Queenslanders to come forward and say who they believed should receive this honour - those individuals who were heroes in their eyes, no matter how big or small their contribution.

"While the Queensland Disaster Heroes program aimed to recognise Queensland's everyday heroes, I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of the many volunteers, officers and staff of the Queensland Emergency Services and the SES who worked tirelessly on the front line.

"In recognition of their hard work and dedication during the disasters, a special Queensland flood and cyclone citation has been struck to issue to officers, staff and volunteers from Queensland Emergency Services agencies over the coming months."

For more information about Queensland Disaster Heroes program or other Queensland Week events visit www.queenslandweek.qld.gov.au

The Queensland Disaster Heroes program is an initiative of the Queensland Government and is supported by the Australian Government and The Courier Mail.



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