Kel McCredie has given more than 15 years of his time to Pacific Palms Surf Life Saving Club, and at the recent Myall Lakes Community Awards, his contribution was celebrated.
Kel has been named Myall Lakes’ Senior of the Year, a formal nod he can list alongside a life membership to the club, an award for 15 years of active service with a 100 per cent active duties award, and a National Medal for 15 years contributed to a volunteer cause.
It’s a fine sheaf of feathers for his cap to be sure, but Kel steadfastly interprets his success as a victory not only for himself, but for the Pacific Palms Surf Life Saving Club community.
“It is humbling to know someone thought I was worthy of recognition, and being named among the other amazing people who were nominated, I see it as a club victory,” Kel explained.
“I would like to share the award with all the other people nominated, people do so much volunteering around the Great Lakes in every industry. The standard is very high so I was honoured to be considered among them.
“For me, the award was nice, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling and was very much appreciated.”
Over his 15 years involvement with the club, Kel has attended 100 per cent of his rostered patrol duties, and his dedication to the club and to ensuring the success of its high profile sponsored events can only be applauded.
“Ours is a small club, we have 60 active members, but out of that the core group does a lot,” Kel said.
“We hold the annual Battle of the Boats, the Rock to Rock Surf Swim, we do venue hire for weddings and events, we usually have around 80 nippers in the annual program, and that’s all on top of our patrol duties; we fit a lot in.”
The current director of life saving, Kel manages the control patrol system and organises the volunteer life savers. He has also spent 10 years on the call out team, responding to after hours emergencies around the clock. The team covers an area stretching from Janies Corner to Seal Rocks.
Kel is also heavily involved in training new bronze certificate groups to join the patrol groups as life savers.
“I’ve been doing this the whole time, and will keep doing it as long as I possibly can,” he said.
Yet another formal nod Kel has recently received is the President’s Award for the Lower North Coast Region for services to surf life saving generally. This followed a five year stint as the head beach coach for the Lower North Coast.
This inter-branch team covers Crowdy, Taree/Old Bar, Black Head, Forster, Cape Hawk and Pacific Palms.
“There are so many facets of surf life saving and club life,” Kel said of his long-term commitment.
“It’s a great environment for kids to grow up in, and has been fantastic for my daughter, Brooke. We have a strong focus on volunteering in our family, and Brooke has taken those lessons with her as she has grown up.
“She now lives in Sydney and and does patrols down there. She’s gotten her fiance involved too, it’s a family culture.”
Alongside his formal life saving duties, Kel has topped the State and the country as a beach flags champion, and there is rarely a day that his car won't be seen in the car park of the club.
“When you live somewhere for a long time, the culture gets ingrained in you. It’s not about what you can get out of things, it’s what you can put in and give back,” Kel said.
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