2024 Dot Hennessy OAM Award Finalists

Marine Rescue NSW

Sophie Baker, a dedicated Marine Rescue Crew Member and Training Officer at the Port Jackson Unit, has demonstrated exceptional service and leadership in her five years as a volunteer. She quickly attained her crew rating and became a regular on rescue vessels, contributing to the safety of one of Australia's busiest waterways.

Sophie's commitment led her to become the youngest female Training Officer for Marine Rescue, taking on an executive leadership role just two years after joining. She has attended leadership training, assisted in the Volunteer Memorial Service, and is working towards training with the NSW Emergency Services Protocol Team. Her efforts have also focused on ensuring a strong representation of female and LGBTQ members within the unit.

In addition to her volunteer work, Sophie leverages her Bachelor of Nutrition Science degree as a Food and Nutrition Data Specialist at Weight Watchers and has worked as a Gym Trainer at F45 Training, demonstrating her diverse skills and dedication to helping others.

Sophie's exceptional service and leadership make her a worthy candidate for the Dorothy Hennessy OAM Scholarship, which would support her ongoing development and contributions to the emergency services sector.

NSW State Emergency Service


Kaili Johnsen, a dedicated 19-year-old volunteer with the NSW SES Blacktown Unit, has demonstrated exceptional commitment to serving her community since joining at 16. Through her tireless efforts and unwavering passion for helping others, Kaili has significantly impacted the lives of those affected by emergencies and disasters.

As a trained volunteer first responder, Kaili has been deployed to various emergency incidents, including rescue operations. Her most memorable deployment was an urban and rugged terrain land search around Sydney Olympic Park, where she assisted the police in finding a missing person. Kaili's quick thinking, teamwork skills, and ability to remain calm under pressure have been instrumental in ensuring the safety and well-being of those in need.

Beyond her roles within the SES, Kaili has been an active member of her school community, serving as a peer support leader and participating in various sports teams. Her dedication to continuous learning and professional development is evident through her pursuit of advanced training within the SES.

Kaili's selfless commitment to serving others and exceptional skills and leadership potential make her a highly deserving candidate for the Dorothy Hennessy OAM Scholarship.

Surf LIfeSaving NSW

Kayla McKenzie, a dedicated Patrol Captain at Wollongong City SLSC, has demonstrated exceptional service and leadership as a surf lifesaver. Since attaining her Surf Rescue Certificate in 2018 at the age of 13, Kayla has held various leadership positions and given hundreds of hours to the organization.

Kayla's contributions extend beyond her regular duties. She sits on the IRB Committee, is the Team Captain of the competitive Youth Rescue and Resuscitation Team and is a member of the Youth Board. Her involvement in youth-led initiatives, fundraisers, and innovations have been invaluable to the club.

Despite relocating to Canberra to pursue her university studies in Paramedicine, Kayla continues to uphold her involvement in the club and contribute to coastal safety on weekends. Her dedication and resilience inspire many.

Kayla's exceptional service and leadership have been recognized through nominations as SLS Illawarra's Youth Lifesaver of the Year. The Dorothy Hennessy OAM Scholarship would support her ongoing studies and dedication to the Emergency Services industry, making her a worthy candidate for this award.

VRA Rescue NSW

Jarod Thomas, the President of Tweed District Rescue Squad (VRA Rescue NSW), Crew member of a local Rural Fire Service Brigade, and a recently graduated member of the NSW Police Force, exemplifies the true meaning of service above self.
With his unwavering commitment to his community, Jarod has consistently demonstrated selflessness and leadership across multiple emergency service organizations.

Over the past 3.5 years with VRA Rescue NSW, 5 years with the Rural Fire Service, and 12 months with the NSW Police Force, Jarod has worked tirelessly to support his community. In his volunteer roles, he has been an integral part of Tweed District Rescue Squad's operational response, taking on additional duties whenever possible.

Jarod's exceptional service and dedication to helping others make him a highly deserving candidate for the Dorothy Hennessy OAM Scholarship. This scholarship would not only help recoup some of the expenses incurred during his police training but also support his ongoing leadership development within the emergency services community.