Sandra Sully is humbled by this year’s Pride of Australia nominees
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-profit 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 finalists 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 difference. It doesn’t hurt to put your hand up, volunteer, make an effort. 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, finalists 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 finalists 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.”
PRIDE OF AUSTRALIA AWARDS
SATURDAY, 9.30PM, ONE
Touched: Sandra Sully is inspired by the finalists’ stories; inset, Victoria’s Chief Commissioner Ken Lay nominated Rosie Batty for the Courage