LSV members receive royal honour

Four Victorian lifesavers are among 992 Australians recognised as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours for 2022, in recognition of their outstanding service and contribution. 

Dr Natalie Hood.

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) life member and current Portsea Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) member Dr Natalie Hood received the Emergency Services Medal for her influence on first aid and resuscitation within the lifesaving movement. 

Dr Hood, who became involved in lifesaving in 1978 at Mentone Life Saving Club (LSC), was part of a cohort of trailblazer women to become operational lifesavers at a time when the role was almost exclusively occupied by men, and she was the first woman in Australia to hold the position of chief lifeguard. 

She is also SLSA’s medical officer and sits on the Australian Resuscitation Council, with many outstanding achievements to her name, including initiating the use of defibrillators in lifesaving and sharing modern resuscitation techniques with tens of thousands of lifesavers. 

John Takac.

Volunteer lifesaver of 40 years, former Surf Coast and Otway chief lifeguard and current Lorne and Wye River SLSC member John Takac was also awarded the Emergency Services Medal for his services to lifesaving, including his influence on the development of the paid lifeguard service, mentoring the future leaders he inspired along the way. 

Mr Takac was Life Saving Victoria’s (LSV’s) inaugural board director elected by the lifesaving services council, and currently serves as director of the iconic Lorne Pier to Pub swim, which attracts 5,000 swimmers annually. 

He is also noted for developing and standardising the expectations, fairness and support of LSV’s lifeguard positions, improving the operational strategies, health and safety for the lifeguards on the front line. 

Warrnambool SLSC member Peter McMillan received the Order of Australia Medal for his service to the local community across dozens of community groups, including the club where he currently helps to develop our future volunteer lifesavers in the nippers program. 

 Clinicial associate professor Catharyn Stern of Point Leo SLSC was awarded the Officer (AO) in General Division for distinguished service to gynaecology, to reproductive medicine and fertility research, and to the community.  

LSV president Paul James congratulated the recipients on their well-deserved recognition for their work within lifesaving and in their respective fields of service to their communities. 

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to LSV’s members as they received recognition during the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours,” he said. 

“We’re in extraordinary company in our membership, which is made up of countless outstanding people, including Natalie, John, Peter and Catharyn and many, many more.  

“The contributions made by these members has no doubt saved countless lives during their collective years of volunteer service, and I am grateful for their dedication to saving lives in Victoria and their invaluable development of the wider lifesaving movement, within the state and nationally.” 

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