Hero wor­ship

San­dra Sully is hum­bled by this year’s Pride of Aus­tralia nom­i­nees

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

SAN­DRA Sully has a mes­sage for any­one who reck­ons there are no he­roes left in the world. Watch the Pride of Aus­tralia Medal tele­cast.

The Chan­nel 10 jour­nal­ist and news pre­sen­ter has spent nearly three decades cov­er­ing the best and worst of mankind.

That hasn’t har­dened Sully, who is over­come with emo­tion as she dis­cusses the or­di­nary Aus­tralians nom­i­nated for this year’s awards in Care and Com­pas­sion, Young Leader, Courage, Brav­ery, Fair Go, En­vi­ron­ment, Com­mu­nity Spirit, Hero­ism, Child of Courage and In­spi­ra­tion.

Some nom­i­nees, such as Vic­to­ria’s Rosie Batty ( Courage Medal), have had to con­front unimag­in­able loss. Ms Batty’s 11- year- old son Luke was mur­dered by his fa­ther at cricket prac­tice in Fe­bru­ary.

West Aus­tralian seven- year- old Sian Wil­liams stood up to the bul­lies taunt­ing her for stut­ter­ing, found­ing not- for- profi t group Kidzu­cate Inc.

Shane Tipung­wuti, from the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, res­cued young Lu­cas Dhur­rkey who had fallen into the lo­cal wa­ter­hole. Shane, 11, per­formed CPR un­til the three- year- old started breath­ing again.

The Pride of Aus­tralia is full of in­spir­ing sto­ries, with 30 fi nal­ists se­lected from hun­dreds of wor­thy nom­i­nees.

“Th­ese peo­ple don’t seek any recog­ni­tion so this ( Pride of Aus­tralia) is a way for the com­mu­nity to say thank you out loud and recog­nise their achieve­ments,” Sully says.

“It is the most hum­bling thing to be a part of be­cause you’re re­minded about how lit­tle you do. Th­ese men and women, boys and girls, show you up ev­ery day of the week.

“It re­ally is a re­minder that one per­son can make a diff er­ence. It doesn’t hurt to put your hand up, vol­un­teer, make an eff ort. It shows a great sense of pride and op­ti­mism in our so­ci­ety.”

Sully has a spe­cial place in her heart for the Young Leader Medal cat­e­gory, be­cause it sends a mes­sage of hope to to­day’s youth.

As well as Wil­liams, fi nal­ists are Clau­dia McEwen ( NSW) who launched the Wake Up Foun­da­tion after her brother Michael was se­ri­ously in­jured in an un­pro­voked as­sault, and James Har­ring­ton ( SA), who walked 18,000km around Aus­tralia to raise aware­ness and funds for The Brain­child Foun­da­tion.

“This cat­e­gory high­lights the hun­dreds if not thou­sands of young Aus­tralians who are do­ing ex­cep­tional work,” Sully says. “They aren’t just lead­ers in their com­mu­nity, but po­ten­tially lead­ers of Aus­tralia.”

Sully chokes with emo­tion as she dis­cusses Ms Batty’s courage. De­spite her unimag­in­able loss, Ms Batty has cam­paigned for re­forms to the sys­tem to pre­vent fam­ily vi­o­lence. Other fi nal­ists in the Courage Medal cat­e­gory are Julie Turner ( NT) who be­came a found­ing mem­ber of the Dar­win Re­gional In­dige­nous Sui­cide Preven­tion Net­work after los­ing her daugh­ter Carmie to sui­cide and Ai­dan Barry ( SA), who has over­come a heart con­di­tion, fail­ing eye­sight and a lack of up­per limbs to es­tab­lish the No Hand­i­cap Golf Run

“Rosie’s story con­nects with so many peo­ple,” Sully says. “Her courage has gal­vanised the com­mu­nity into chang­ing the way do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is treated.

“Ev­ery year Pride of Aus­tralia re­minds us how a sim­ple act of kind­ness or courage or gen­eros­ity can change peo­ple’s lives – even save them. My great­est chal­lenge on the night is to do jus­tice to every­body. It is their mo­ment to shine.”



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