Two Venus Bay Surf Lifesavers recieved top honours at Surf Lifesaving Australia's Awards of Excellence. More than 250 guests were on hand to honour Surf Lifesaving's best and bravest at the awards, held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on 22nd October 2016. Kimberley Gee was awarded National Trainer of the Year in recognition of her outstanding contributions to award training and development and David Cumming received an Individual Certificate of Merit with a Silver Insert - the highest meritorious award given.
Kimberley has been a member of Venus Bay SLSC for 16 years and has held the position of Chief Instructor for nine seasons, the longest period any member has retained the role. Over the past season she increased award attainment by 194% with 69 members achieveing 179 awards. This has enabled patrols to become more skilled and operate at a higher standard. Kimberley was also recognised for her contributions to training and education, in particular the implementation of modified training programs to cater for members with learning disabilities.
Kimberley's involvement in surf lifesaving over the past 16 years is extensive and spanned many facets of surf lifesaving. She holds her Gold Medallion and has worked as a professional lifeguard for 10 seasons. Her long long term success on Life Saving Victoria’s Pool Lifesaving State Representative Team, from 2005-2009, was recognised and rewarded with the provision of valuable training resources and equipment. The club received 6 new resuscitation manikins, rescue tubes, fins, and other training equipment which have enhanced the delivery of training. The allocation of this equipment means the club caters for larger numbers in both training and assessment.
Kimberley said she was shocked to win the award. "I was suprised to when I won at state level. To win at nationals is such an honour" she said. Kimberley said the club has always been family orientated, and her own family are all members. In fact, Kimberley met her husband Simon (a life member at Venus Bay SLSC) through their involvement with the surf club.
Kimberley is looking forward to the upcoming season and continuing to constantly evolve the award training and education at Venus Bay SLSC.
An act of bravery earnt David Cumming the highest meritorious award at SLSA National Awards of Excellence. On 4 December 2015, David was having lunch at Number 1 beach in Venus Bay when he noticed 4 swimmers enter the water in a very large rip. David went to the clubhouse to retrieve a recue board. By the time he got to the swimmers, one made it onto the sandbar, one male was semi-conscious, a female was in shock and another man was maintaining his position. David took three back to the shore which took over 20 minutes. David's understanding of the situation, urgency in actions, use of lifesaving equipment, level head and administration of first aid, ensured that all four returned home safely to their families.
David said he did not expect to receive such a prestigious award. He was nominated by the club and the wider Venus Bay community. "On the night I did not know what category the award I would receive was in. I did not expect to be in the highest category," he said.
David is the club's vice president of training and development, taking care of the Nippers program, competitions and further development training. He has been a member of the club for 35 years. "The club is a big part of me. It's a volunteer organisation and you can literally save a life," he said. David's family are all active members of the club. His eldest son is now a qualified lifesaver, and his other children are in the Nippers program. "The parent/child involvement is one of the most enjoyable things about this club," he said.
In the lead up to the busy summer season, David warned beachgoers to be cautious in the water. "Make sure you swim between the flags and if you're unsure of the conditions, ask a lifesaver, local, or someone who has knowledge of the beach."