An unassuming figure with a heart and sense of community spirit as vast as his backyard in south west Queensland’s Yowah, Scott Shorten is the deserving winner of the 2018 RFDS Queensland Hero award.
Scott could be considered the backbone of the Yowah community. From helping the RFDS for many years when there’s a medical emergency in his small home town, to leading the Yowah SES, the whole community would call Scott if they were ever in medical trouble.
Scott is a long-time supporter of the RFDS, known locally for not only helping in the actual construction of the town’s airstrip, but for also now picking up the crew from the airstrip and taking them into town for the fortnightly GP clinic. He’s also been known to fire up the barbecue and cook a feed for the pilots when they arrive in Yowah for night landings.
The RFDS Queensland Hero Award was presented to Scott in front of more than 700 guests, including Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, at the RFDS Wings for Life Gala in Brisbane.
Scott was chosen out of nine recipients of the 2018 RFDS Local Hero Awards from around the state, announced earlier this year as part of the RFDS 90th Anniversary celebrations.
As part of the award, Scott was given a $5,000 grant donated by Ergon Energy Retail to be used to improve health outcomes for people of his community.
Scott says he planned on using the money to purchase a trailer, which would be designed to help transport sick and injured patients from town to the local airstrip.
“This really is an honour. The Flying Doctor means so much to the people of Yowah, so this award really does mean a lot.”
“Our airport is 4km out of town, and we don’t have the population for an ambulance. At the moment, we have to use the back of a ute to transport patients out to the airfield. But with this money we can equip a trailer with 12-volt lighting and benches down each side, with a stretcher in the middle for easy access for doctors and nurses.”
“This way the patient and crew are protected from the elements – the sun, rain, dust, or cold night air. With a trailer any car with a tow bar could pull it, making it easier to load patients onto the RFDS plane.”
Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) CEO, Nino Di Marco says Scott’s commitment to his community embodied the Spirit of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
“Each and every one of the nine Local Hero Award recipients here tonight has done an incredible job supporting the Flying Doctor. Without their support, and through their incredible selflessness such as that shown by Scott, we would not be able to continue the work we do throughout Queensland.”