A stellar year
SEASON 2012/2013 and Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club member Max Leonard was named Patroller of the Year.
The award is not only for patrolling but goes to an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the club in building community awareness, personal development, enthusiasm and passion for lifesaving.
Season 2013/2014 and the 19 year old is awarded the Ansell and Bolton Most Outstanding Active Award for a club member who achieves 100% of his rostered hours, has been a leader on patrol and a role model for the club and been actively involved in training.
So who exactly is this young man who has taken out the club’s two most prestigious awards in successive years?
Max lives in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Heathmont.
He studies paramedics at the Australian Catholic University in Fitzroy, a course which involves a lot of on-road placements and is obviously a field in which nerves of steel are a prerequisite and perfectly suited to active involvement in surf lifesaving.
“I didn’t want a desk job,” Leonard says.
“I wanted to be out in the field, helping people and giving back to the community.
“My parents have always been people who give, give and give and who don’t expect anything back.
“They give because they love to.
“While you don’t do it expecting to win awards it is always nice when you do.
Max says that involvement in the surf life saving club offers him many things which taken together “are really good life experience.
“It all comes together.”
On one front he gets to compete in teams, on the patrol front he gets to practice and learn more about first aid, rescue and swim safety and then there is the social side.
As well as his love of fitness (he enjoys swimming, running, the gym and at 6’ 1” plays basketball) he was looking for a place to make new friends and a friend introduced him to the club when he was 15.
Leonard is also the youngest ever member of the Westpac Chopper Crew which has always been a goal for Max but he did not expect it would come so quickly.
The two helicopters operating out of Moorabbin attend on average 100 call outs a year, often to people stuck in rips but also to inland search and rescue operations.
The crew consists of the pilot, a despatcher and the rescue swimmer.
The despatcher’s job is primarily to deploy the rescue swimmer.
As yet, Leonard has not had to be deployed but is trained and ready to be.
Media and Community Relations spokesperson at the club Gayle Morris said “Max performed his role as the club’s first aid officer with great professionalism, and made great contributions to the running of the club and improvements in the way it operates.
“He has had a stellar year.”
Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=11655