Rocky's disaster heroes recognised


PREMIER Anna Bligh has today congratulated the Queensland disaster heroes from the Rockhampton and Theodore regions at a special recognition ceremony held for Queensland Week.

"More than 100 individuals were nominated from the Rockhampton and Theodore regions for their community initiative, bravery, courage, resilience and strength during the Central Queensland floods of 2010-11 and we are joined by many of those nominees here today," Ms Bligh said.

"The floods hit hard in Rockhampton and Theodore, but from the devastation, stories of bravery and courage have emerged.

"These are the stories of the people - from Rockhampton, Gladstone, Theodore, Moura, Biloela, Calliope and other neighbouring areas - who assisted those in need after the floods receded.

"These are the stories of the helicopter pilots who evacuated the small town of Theodore to Moura and Biloela as the flood waters threatened the town - the first ever evacuation of any entire town and many people only had the clothes on their backs.

"These are the stories of the volunteers who risked their own safety to rescue others and those from charities like Lifeline who provided support and compassion to the affected. The business owners who offered their time and equipment to ensure residents and authorities had the supplies they required.

"We recognise those from Rockhampton who contributed to the facebook page "Cyclone Yasi Update", which provided the latest information to more than 90 000 people at its peak and those from 'CQ Helping Hand' and other volunteer organisations who provided assistance, transported furniture and clothing donations, ran fundraisers and provided care packages to those affected.

"Then there are the many volunteers who rose to clean and repair, some as young as six years of age and regularly worked long days. They came from far and wide to help people they did not even know.

"Today is the day we get to say thank you to you on behalf of all Queenslanders for the acts of bravery, selflessness and 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 one of ten recognition ceremonies being held in the affected regions across the state.

As well as Rockhampton, ceremonies have been held in Lockyer Valley (Saturday 4 June), Townsville and Tully (Sunday 5 June), and will be held in Dalby and Emerald (Tuesday 7 June), Bundaberg (Wednesday 8 June), Toowoomba and Ipswich (Saturday 11 June) and Brisbane (Sunday 12 June).

"It was up to Queenslanders to come forward and tell our government who should receive this honour - those individuals who were heroes in their eyes, no matter how big or small the contribution was and more than 3500 people were nominated statewide," Ms Bligh said.

"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 - the police, fire, ambulance 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 for 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 the Queensland Week website.

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