A passionate community volunteer has been named Citizen of the Year at Ipswich City Council’s annual Australia Day Awards.
Amy Hartness has volunteered with the Rural Fire Service since 2004 and with the Ipswich City State Emergency Service since 2003.
Ms Hartness has never shied away from the challenges presented by disasters and emergencies, through fire and smoke, to hail and flooding, she is always smiling and encouraging.
Ms Hartnes paints a vivid picture of what it is like to be on the front lines of a fire.
“It can be pretty intense some days,” she said.
“You do lots of training and you get a point where what you do is second nature.
“When you are involved in an incident, your instinct kicks in and you just know what to do.
“It’s hot, you are sweaty and the noise of a fire can be quite loud with branches falling and the wind can really get moving.
“The smoke makes it hard to see and hard to breathe.
“You have got to be pretty switched on.”
After the intense days are done, Ms Hartness and her fellow volunteer’s usually sit down with something cold, have a talk and some food.
“Everything is better with food,” she said.
She embodies the Australian spirit of resilience and selflessness.
In the past eight years in the SES alone, she has invested a phenomenal 2230 hours.
Ms Hartness has held numerous positions in both organisations.
“Volunteering is one of those things that is good for everyone, maybe emergency services is not for everyone, but there are so many options out there to help your community,” she said.
Ms Hartness was honoured at a ceremony at the North Ipswich Reserve alongside winners from seven other categories on Australia Day.
Ipswich City Council CEO David Farmer praised Ms Hartness and all of the finalists and winners across all categories.
“Amy wears many hats and we are very proud of her service to the community,” Mr Farmer said.
“Volunteer fire fighters play an important role in our community, as seen in recent months, they often put themselves in harm’s way to protect the property and lives of others.
“All of the award winners, and more broadly each and every nominee, display the characteristics that make Ipswich great.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these individuals and community groups and I congratulate them on behalf of our 219,890 Ipswich residents.”
2020 Australia Day Award winners across all categories:
- Spirit of Ipswich Award: Pat Stephens (Protect All Children Today volunteer)
- Cultural Award of the Year: Danielle Leedie Gray (artist and Kambu volunteer)
- Sport Award of the Year: Ashleigh Barty (World number one female tennis player)
- Citywide Event of the Year: (Multicultural Tamil and Indian New Year Celebrations)
- Community Event of the Year: (Transition 2 Adulthood)
- Young Citizen of the Year Award: Ripley Tuuta (Riverview Neighbourhood House)
- Senior Citizen of the Year Award: Stella Gibbs (Volunteer and English teacher)
- Citizen of the Year Award: Amy Hartness (Ipswich City State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service volunteer)