QBANK Celebrates Everyday Heroes Working Together
Ahead of the 2023 QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards on Friday 27 October 2023, we celebrate our 22 finalists across 6 categories. Today, we look at the three finalists in the 'Working Together' category. This category looks at individuals who have demonstrated & encouraged outstanding teamwork.
Amy Illidge & Steve Illidge - Australian Federal Police
CHARITY WORK EARNS FEDERAL AGENT AND DOCTOR DUO HERO STATUS
A Brisbane couple on the frontline who have taken their passion for helping others beyond hospitals and federal police agencies to help youth with functional and intellectual disabilities find joy and success through sport have been recognised for their efforts as finalists in the QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards. Federal Agent Steve Illidge and his wife, QLD Health Doctor Amy Illidge are two of the 22 finalists selected from across the state for the awards which celebrate the exceptional achievements of people within Queensland Police, Fire, Health, Ambulance, Corrections, Justice, Public Service, Education and volunteers. The couple are joint finalists in the Working Together category.
Steve and Amy established their charity Fight4Balance to create fitness and wellbeing opportunities for children with functional and intellectual disabilities associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, Acquired Brian Injury, Fragile X syndrome and other undiagnosed cognitive disabilities.
Steve said the charity was born from their family of eight’s lived experience with their eldest son Jacob, who was diagnosed with an intellectual disability, cerebral palsy and autism. “Jacob’s many attempts to enjoy mainstream sports over the years have been met with repeated failures and bullying from mainstream children which has taken an emotional toll on his quality of life and happiness,” Steve said. “We decided to start a charity to help Jacob and other children like him, get fit and help them experience independence and success.”
Fight4Balance was established to connect adolescent youth living with disabilities and their families with mainstream gyms and sporting clubs to foster a sense of belonging in club and membership programs. All programs are designed, delivered, and reviewed in consultation with a Clinical Review Panel to maximise the experience for participants and their families.
Amy said although the work could be challenging, it was rewarding to see the joy and happiness in children of all abilities coming together in an inclusive way. “Our youth living with disabilities often have a difficult and lonely journey with minimal successes and it is extremely meaningful to be part of charity which delivers programs where these youth finally feel like they belong and find success, friendship and pride,” she said. “As individuals who are not affected by disability it is immensely rewarding to be continually grounded by the community of families Fight4Balance serves.”
Steve said another great aspect of the program was the leadership opportunities it created. “A key element of our adaptive fitness and life skills programs is integrating a volunteer school-based training buddy program under our Charity’s Inclusive-Youth Leadership Certificate Program,” he said. Our first cohort of inclusive leaders are now entering university and part-time employment after volunteering on our programs for the past 4-5 years. It’s very satisfying and makes us proud to be asked to write letters of reference to shine a light on the incredible and invaluable volunteer community service they perform.”
Amy said they were both humbled and honoured to be named finalists in the QBANK Everyday Hero Awards. “It is a privilege for our charity to be recognised by a bank which shares the core values of community, support, respect and inclusion high on their agenda,” she said.
“QBANK feels like a family who is continually active in making a real difference in other people’s lives which is reflected through awards such as these.”
Elizabeth Faulkner & Caitlin Parsons - Queensland Health
BRISBANE NURSING DUO’S DEDICATION EARNS THEM HERO STATUS
Two Brisbane nurses who go above and beyond to help some of the most vulnerable patients have been recognised for their efforts as finalists in the QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards. Elizabeth Faulkner and Caitlin Parsons are two of the 22 finalists selected from across the state for the awards which celebrate the exceptional achievements of people within Queensland Police, Fire, Health, Ambulance, Corrections, Justice, Public Service, Education and volunteers. The duo are joint finalists in the Working Together category.
Elizabeth and Caitlin are the only Geriatric Emergency Department Intervention (GEDI) Nurses who work in the Emergency and Trauma Centre of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. They are experienced clinical nurses who tend to and advocate for the frail and elderly patients who present to their busy emergency department.
Because of their work, many elderly patients receive the care they need to return home with community care and support, avoiding a hospital stay. The pair were nominated by a colleague who highlighted their exceptional efforts to help their patients experiencing trauma.
Vaughan Mason, Callam Moriarty & Wylie Steel - Queensland Ambulance Service & Queensland Police Service
RECOGNITION FOR BARALABA COMMUNITY HAILED FOR RESCUE EFFORTS
After the Baralaba community came together to save a resident trapped in a grain silo in February, the first responders who led the rescue effort have been nominated for a QBANK Everyday Hero Award. OIC at Baralaba Police Station Sergeant Wylie Steel, Constable Callam Moriarty and OIC at Baralaba Ambulance Station Vaughan Mason are some of the 22 finalists selected from across the state. The awards celebrate the exceptional achievements of people within Queensland Police, Fire, Health, Ambulance, Corrections, Justice, Public Service, Education, and volunteers. The group are joint finalists in the Teamwork category.
Just after midday on February 23, emergency services attended a Baralaba property where a 78-year-old man was trapped in a grain silo. Wylie said he, Callam and Vaughan entered the silo to rescue the man, using a tarp and a ladder to stop them all from sinking and a piece of pipe to help him breathe while the officers freed him.
“We could tell he was in a world of hurt, in grain basically up to his eyes, so we got up there and started digging around so he could breathe.”
Wylie said the community rallied to help save one of their own, with people on the ground cutting a hole to release grain from the silo. “We were basically in the middle of nowhere, so we called for help from the local auxiliary firefighters, Baralaba Coalmine’s emergency response team, police detectives from Woorabinda, other emergency services, civilians and local farmers, and the Bush Telegraph worked overtime to help us too.”
“It took a whole community to help this bloke out, and some of those people travelled from 100kms away.
“It was a pretty high stress situation and an exhausting effort, but everyone was so relieved and happy.”
Vaughan said everyone quickly realised how serious the situation was. “Wheat is very difficult to work with, it’s worse than quicksand and we were in there, buried up to our chests,” he said. “The gentleman was literally buried to his chin, so we had to communicate with direct question, and he responded by blinking.
“We were taking away as much grain as we could, digging around him and communicating with the group outside because they could not see where we were at.”
Vaughan said the small town’s emergency services were very close and even knew each other’s equipment and capabilities, which helped in many situations. “When I got there, it was just three of us, but by the time I came out there was 20 plus people, if not more,” he said. “The community came together with clear task of what we needed to achieve, and the jubilation of getting out of the silo was something I had never been in before.”
Vaughan said the group was humbled to be named finalists in the Everyday Heroes Awards. “We’re all so ecstatic about the recognition, and hats off to everyone, even those outside, because it was just such an amazing effort,” he said. “Unfortunately, with grain those situations usually don’t have such a great result.”
Wylie said the community effort deserved to be celebrated. “We wouldn’t have been able to get the job done without the support from those people on the ground,” he said. “It’s great to see the whole community recognised for their work in this particular incident. Everybody pulled together and got the job done.