Last night in Sydney the 2021 NSW Australian of the Year Awards were announced in a ceremony at Luna Park, Sydney.
The winners were 2021 NSW Australian of the Year – Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM (Berowra Heights); 2021 NSW Senior Australian of the Year – Isabel Reid (Wagga Wagga); 2021 NSW Young Australian of the Year – Nathan Parker (Lismore), and; 2021 NSW Local Hero – Rosemary Kariuki (Oran Park)
Nathan Parker is a pilot and Invictus Games gold medallist.
Nathan Parker was on the way to his dream job as a fighter pilot when a military bus accident left him badly injured and his left hand amputated. Despite his injuries, Nathan returned to civilian flying in three months, resuming military and university duties within seven months.
Nathan was the first upper-limb amputee in the Australian Defence Force Academy’s history to complete his final 12 months and graduate.
After completing his degree in 2017, Nathan was medically discharged in 2019 to become a commercial pilot.
The 25 year old works as a senior RA-Aus flying instructor in Lismore, obtaining his commercial pilot’s licence and achieving his aerobatic endorsement.
A public speaker, mentor, flight instructor and now aspiring to provide joy flights for sick children, Nathan is also a gold-medal athlete. He represented Australia in the Invictus Games in Canada 2017 and Sydney 2018, winning nine medals including three gold in Sydney. He also brought home 17 medals from two USA Warrior Games.
National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand congratulated the NSW award recipients. ‘The 2021 NSW Australians of the Year are leaders by example, said Ms Brand. ‘Their efforts are truly inspirational, providing leadership in crises, paving the way for others, showing us what is possible, fighting for what is right and helping those in need.”
The NSW award recipients will join those from the other states and territories for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2021.
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.