By Brad Foster
Remember back before COVID-19? When the world was normal? Well, the fact is that it’s never been quite normal.
Just prior to COVID-19, Australia experienced its worst summer bushfires on record with thousands displaced, lives lost and ecosystems and wildlife decimated.
As is always the case, our emergency services professionals worked tirelessly to fight the fires head on, hoping among hope to limit the devastation as much as humanly possible.
And they did.
These people rarely ask for recognition, preferring to let their actions speak for them. But in saying that, people do need to be recognised for going over and above.
Which is where the NSW Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards (RESCA) come in. The 2020 awards were due to be held on March 25.
And then came COVID.
The entire event needed a rethink, but what was clear way back in March was that this event had to happen in 2020.
The community-voted awards program, hosted by Rotary, recognising their motto of “Service Above Self”, surged ahead in its planning. Despite the focus of COVID-19 the awards received its highest number of nominations in its six years.
Explains key event partner, Alison Jack of Admire Events, initially, with optimistic hopes for what was believed to be a short-lived inconvenience, the date for the “Announcement of Finalists” event and the Awards Dinner were moved back a few months.
A second face to face event cancellation in August for the Announcement of Finalists saw a video release to Facebook reach over 40,000 and the video watched close to 14,000 times.
It became evident that the Awards Dinner, usually with more than 350 in attendance, would need to take on a new format.
And it did, with the October 30 event spread across eight locations around NSW – from the SMC centre in Sydney to Casino in the north, Mollymook in the south and as far west as Dubbo. Award finalists gathered in groups of up to 50 in each location and came together utilising the Create Live platform.
Finalists were joined by their emergency service commissioner in the satellite locations, along with Rotarians and a representative of the event Principal Partner, Aware Super.
Special guests included the RESCA Vice-Regal Patrons Her Excellency, The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC Governor of New South Wales and Mr Wilson, and The Hon Gareth Ward MP Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services.
The broadcast was also simultaneously streamed over the RESCA Facebook page to ensure that finalists were able to share in their special evening with family and friends, irrespective of where they were located.
Alongside the team at OnAir, pulling the strings behind the scenes was Admire Events, with help from Audio Visual Events and Create Engage.
Following the big night, Admire Events’ Alison Jack said: “We’ve received such overwhelmingly positive feedback about the event. The client is even giving serious consideration to continuing with this format into the future, irrespective of COVID restrictions.”
Image courtesy of Oneill Photographics.
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