Dr Stephen Langford from Applecross.
Dr Stephen Langford – Flying doctor (Applecross)During his 32 year career with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), Dr Stephen Langford has saved countless lives and eased tremendous suffering. Starting at the front line in 1983, Stephen was astounded to discover the limited resources available within the RFDS. Working tirelessly over many years, Stephen introduced dozens of innovations, from treatment preventing premature birth to ultrasound diagnostic capabilities, special transfer equipment for heavy patients, and blood clot-busting drugs for heart patients. Tackling the tyranny of distance, Stephen campaigned for a fast Hawker 800 jet, transforming how emergency medical teams could respond to remote incidents – some of which were 2,000 kilometres from the nearest hospital. Now the Medical Director of the RFDS in Western Australia, Stephen has made a tremendous impact on health in remote Indigenous communities. A recent study confirms that patients who are badly injured in remote Western Australia have significantly higher chances of survival if they receive early medical care from Stephen’s team.
Carl Merrison from Halls Creek.
Carl Merrison – Mentor (Halls Creek)The longest serving member of the Halls Creek Clontarf Academy, Carl Merrison is a role model for young Aboriginal boys. As the Academy’s Operations Officer in Halls Creek, Carl overseas a program of activities that teaches leadership, healthy lifestyles and life skills. Providing enduring emotional and physical support, cultural and language advice, Carl is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty for his young charges. His commitment to the young men of Halls Creek extends beyond the school gates. An active sportsman, Carl is a volunteer coach with the Halls Creek Hawks football club. In his work at the local pool, Carl encourages young people to make positive lifestyle choices. Having lost family members to suicide, Carl is a vocal campaigner for suicide awareness and supports students struggling with mental health issues. A dedicated family man, Carl is an inspiring Indigenous leader who touches all those he meets with his energy, positivity and passion for his people.
Robert Reekie from Busselton.
Robert Reekie – Men’s advocate (Busselton)By his own admission, Robert Reekie was once an angry man. After enrolling in an anger management program, Rob changed his own life and has since offered a lifeline to thousands of men. Soon after arriving in Busselton in 2003, Rob trained as a counsellor and established the Mates Men’s Support Group. Since then, Rob and his team of volunteers have provided 24 hour crisis counselling, ‘cooling off’ accommodation, anger management training, youth mentoring and support for thousands of men in need. Rob’s emergency house gives men somewhere to go when they need time out, while his refuge helps men get back on their feet. His child visitation service keeps men connected with their families and his counselling is breaking the cycle of violence and reoffending. As President of Mates, Robert works up to 70 hours a week and has become the ‘go to’ person for men’s issues in the region while helping many men take responsibility for their actions and become role models for their children.
Linda Thomas from Como.
Linda Thomas – Organ and tissue donation champion (Como)A former intensive care nurse, Linda Thomas understands the heartbreak that families suffer when their loved ones die. But as a clinical nurse consultant specialising in organ and tissue donation, Linda also understands the comfort that families can feel when they give the gift of life. In her work with DonateLife, Linda often makes midnight calls to families. She works closely with medical and nursing teams to ensure they can recognise potential donors – and have the skills and sensitivity to reach out to families at their most difficult time. Each year, more than 1,500 people are on organ donation waiting lists and Linda is helping to tackle Australia’s static organ and tissue donation rates. With an abiding sense of compassion and respect, whether that’s speaking to hundreds at a conference or one-on-one with a grieving family member, Linda is helping to save lives and making a difference to the people who are left behind.