DHL Lifeguard of the Year
Matthew Wilson, Secret Harbour SLSC, WA
Matthew has nine years of experience as a Lifeguard, providing maturity and diligence and enabling necessary changes for improvement while providing stability for junior lifeguards to replicate. He has a dedicated approach to conducting preventative actions and was instrumental in the notable increase of preventable actions in his area over the last year. His approach to data collection and incident reporting is a testament to Matthew’s dedication to the business of lifesaving. Matthew had grown his lifeguarding career by becoming part of the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter team thus adding to the efficacy of coordinating beach services from the air or on the sand, and his past experience in Policing and now Primary Teaching is an important feature of his interactions with members and the community.
Cooper Forest, Henley SLSC, SA
Cooper has been highly regarded for his lifeguard services since 2008, displaying dedicated application to his job both on and off the beach. He spends time checking on incidents before his shift and planning what is to come, and checks supplies diligently. He is pleasant, kind and educated in his responses. On the beach Cooper is focused, proactive and professional, being patient with non-English speaking beach goers and general public alike. In the community he assisted SAPOL in a situation involving a young lady who was in a compromising position, identifying and keeping her safe and occupied. He has accumulated many awards, medallions and achieved proficiencies, all leading to his presence as an extremely valuable member of his Club.
Grace Lightfoot, Jan Juc SLSC, VIC
Grace joined the Australian Lifeguard Service in 2014 and has witnessed an enormous shift in the culture and professionalism particularly in the Surfcoast and Otway Area. In 2018/19 she has worked as a Team Leader mentoring and training Returning and Trainee Lifeguards. She represented ALS in the Women in Lifesaving video as part of the International Women’s Day Inter-agency Expo to showcase the supportive and inclusive culture of lifesaving. Educating and working alongside Sri Lankan Lifeguards was an opportunity for Grace to share her knowledge and skills as part of the 2018 Victorian Building Leaders Scholarship. An unexpected meeting with Prince Harry and Meghan while Grace was on an Event Lifeguard shift presented an excellent chance to promote ALS to the assembled media!
Ben Dickens, Australian Lifeguard Service, Ballina, NSW
Ben has contributed greatly to the growth and development of the Lifeguard Service and his hard work and skills saw him recently step up to Senior Lifeguard. He has educated many school children about beach and water safety, assisted supervisors in training younger and less experienced lifeguards, and has assisted with RWC drivers’ training. Ben speaks with his community on how lifeguards contribute to shark mitigation and minimisation of risk. As the only seasonal lifeguard in the Shire, he has been involved in almost all major incidents, including a body recovery which required skill and respect; paddling out to sea to assist 7 kayakers in trouble, and treatment of a severe laceration where his abilities shone.
Rowan Simpson, Australian Lifeguard Service, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Rowan is a highly regarded Senior Lifeguard and has served an amazing total of 16477 lifeguard hours since 2008. He places priority in knowing all emergency services personnel and promotes the lifeguard service by example. Rowan devotes many hours to mentoring new lifeguards and passing on his lifeguarding skill base and work ethic. He has achieved his drone pilot licence and completed media training to assist with public relations. Rowan has been involved in the organisation and execution of three major search and rescue incidents whilst communicating with the Queensland Water Police. He is always willing to step up into acting supervisor roles without hesitation.