Awards finalist says saving lives is biggest reward of all
FOR this Bundaberg lifeguard, nothing is more rewarding than saving the lives of others.
But this Friday night, Georgia Martin will be swapping her red and yellow uniform for a ball gown as she and seven other ambassadors from around the state take part in the 2020 Surf Girls competition.
While the lifesaver, who has been patrolling beaches since she was just 14 years old, admits she would be thrilled to walk away with an award, Ms Martin believes she has won regardless of the outcome.
"I remember when I was a little girl, I would look up at the wall which had photos of past winners and I always thought 'wow, that would be so cool to have my photo up there,'" Ms Martin said.
"If I win it will be the icing on the cake, but that's not what motivated me to enter.
"I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and through this worthwhile experience I have learnt so much about how Surf Life Saving Queensland operates and it's also been wonderful getting to know very like-minded women."
Forty per cent of Surf Life Saving Queensland's active members are women, and the Surf Girl competition celebrates the incredible contribution they make.
As part of the program, finalists including Ms Martin represent their club and participate in a variety of activities to further develop their skills in leadership, education, lifesaving, networking and fundraising.
"Over the last year, I've been doing fundraising and member development work for the club and focusing on raising community awareness by visiting schools to teach students about basic lifesaving skills and water safety," Ms Martin said.
"This week I have demonstrated my knowledge on lifesaving and ability to interact with the public by attending community education sessions, patrolling beaches, attending to rescue patients and increasing my rescue and practical skills with things like a CPR class.
"Then on Friday we each meet with the judging panel and attend the gala dinner on Friday night, where the winners will be announced."
Ms Martin said she loved being a lifesaver and helping others brought her fulfilment.
"When you get down to the core of what we do, we change lives, and to be on that beach and wear that red and yellow uniform, it gives me this real sense of pride," she said.
"In the coming summer, make sure you swim between the red and yellow flags, look out for each other and stay safe."
Funds raised throughout the program will assist surf life saving clubs around Queensland with education, member development, volunteer memberships, training and rescue equipment.
Awards will be distributed at the Gala Dinner on Friday night, at the Gold Coast's The Star.