Bruns SLSC president Craig Reid hopes his Citizen of the Year award helps highlight the importance of beach safety
Story & photo Eve Jeffery
Brunswick Surf Life Saving Club president Craig Reid was awarded Citizen of the Year honours at the 2013 Australia Day ceremony at Ocean Shores on Saturday.
Craig, who has lived in the Shire his entire life, has been an active community worker for the past 31 years. As prez of the Bruns SLSC for the past 11 years, he is the longest continuously serving president in the 77-year history of the club.
Craig said after the ceremony that he was very surprised to get the award. ‘It is always nice to be recognised by other community leaders for what you to do but you never expect it. I was just sitting there at the ceremony and as they started reading out the nominations and my name was called out – that was how I found out.’
Craig says it is very humbling to be the recipient of the award when you consider the other nominees. ‘There is a lot of worthy people in the community who do a lot of good work, so it is an honour to receive the award – but really, I am just a representative of the whole club that does great work’.
Mayor Richardson said during this time Craig had set the standard for surf club members by recording more active patrol hours than any other member of the Brunswick club. ‘Craig often also gives up his time to speak at public gatherings and schools on water and beach safety’, said Mayor Richardson. ‘He is especially loved by the junior members of the club, the Nippers, and gives his time freely, spending most Sunday mornings at the beach surrounded by a group of young followers.’
Craig says that even though they have has several big rescues including a six-month pregnant woman and a trio of children who swam the river too far down, two of whom were swept out almost 500 metres past the bar, people are generally getting the message. ‘We’ve had record numbers swimming between the flags. The message is getting through. On Christmas day we still had 50 people swimming at the end of the patrol so we stayed on until 6pm. If we can see you we can save you’. It is situations like these that have landed him the award as this year’s number one citizen.
*Author’s note – Craig and young Bruns patroller Braeden McHugh used their SLSC-acquired skills after Craig’s photo shoot on Sunday, when, as I left the building and tried to get into my car in gusty winds, the driver’s door swung back at me and left me with a Frankenstein gash on my noggin and blood pouring down my face. They patched me up and saw me safely to hospital. Thanks, dudes – you blokes are legends!