WOOLAMAI Beach Surf Life Saving Club’s vice president Stafford Smith has been awarded a Queen’s Birthday Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his service to lifesaving and education over the last 37 years.
Stafford is a retired teacher of Upwey High School and has been a member of Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) for the past 20 years.
Since his retirement from full-time teaching in 1999, Stafford has run a lifesaving program for Year 10 students from Upwey High School, giving them the opportunity to complete their first aid certificate and bronze medallion as a part of a school elective.
Stafford earnt his bronze medallion at the young age of 15 and holds a passion for the industry.
His colleagues can see the commitment and determination of his work and nominated Stafford for this achievement award.
The formal ceremony will take place at Government House in September 2019, nonetheless the official statement of his accomplishment was announced on Monday, June 10.
“I was overwhelmed with this recognition, I was curious to whom would have nominated me for such an award and I thank my colleague and the parent of a special student for their endorsement,” said Stafford.
Woolamai Surf Life Saving Club has also recognised their vice president for his 20-year commitment to the club, for running countless camps and events, and supporting the youth of today.
Will Slator, president of Woolamai Beach SLSC, said: “Stafford’s work through Upwey High has resulted in hundreds of new members for the club, as well as hundreds of students learning the importance of beach safety.”
Stafford’s positive change within this youth program is giving our adolescent students endless possibilities into future career paths.
“Some past students have retained their membership of the club and have committed to becoming lifesavers, paramedics and nurses,” said Stafford.
The retired teacher and surf club member is proud of his students, the club and the team behind the work of this great partnership.
Upwey High School approved the partnership with Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club in 1999 and as a result of this the club retains over 120 memberships from these students.
“Without Stafford, Woolamai Beach SLSC would not be what it is today. Thank you, Stafford, for the dedication, energy and warmth and you have given to Woolamai over the years,” said Will.