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Narooma volunteer wins Rotary Emergency Services Youth Scholarship

Narooma’s Taliya Smith, aged 19, was the only far south coast recipient among the eight winners of the 2021 Rotary NSW Emergency Service Community Awards (RESCA) announced on Saturday by Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott. The ceremony was streamed online.

The community-nominated awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of emergency services workers and volunteers.

“It’s a pleasure to announce the $1,000 Dorothy Hennessy OAM Emergency Services Youth Scholarship has been awarded to Taliya Smith, a courageous and dedicated VRA Rescue operator trainee,” Mr Elliott said.

Taliya was thrilled with the news. She joined VRA Rescue last year after the 2019-20 bushfires when she decided she wanted to help her community and saw a post calling for VRA volunteers.

The scholarship is for training and educational materials or equipment for an outstanding volunteer aged up to 25.

Taliya will use it to support her training in indigenous mental health initiatives so she can contribute to her community’s resilience. She also wants to learn about Aboriginal fire management.

Taliya was to have been presented with her award in Narooma on Sunday by Narooma Rotary President Andrew Lawson on behalf of Rotary Area 9705 Area Governor Adam de Totth. That presentation has been deferred until after lockdown.

Taliya works at Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health and Community Services and Narooma Home Timber and Hardware. She received a NAIDOC award for leadership and responsibility after leaving school.

Rotary NSW has established an additional emergency services scholarship for a PhD candidate to investigate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in emergency services workers and volunteers.

Above: Taliya Smith of Narooma VRA Rescue won a 2021 Rotary NSW Emergency Service Community Award announced on Saturday.