QBANK Celebrates Achievement of Everyday Heroes

Ahead of the 2023 QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards on Friday 27th October 2023, we celebrate our 22 finalists across 6 categories. Today, we look at the three finalists in the 'Achievement' category. This category looks at passionate individuals who have delivered outstanding performance and high achievement.


Emma Williams - Queensland Ambulance Service


A Sunshine Coast paramedic who has walked 1700km and cycled 2500km to fundraise for people in need has been recognised as a finalist in the QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards.
Emma Williams is one of 22 finalists selected from across the state for the awards which celebrate the exceptional achievements of people within Queensland Police, Fire, Health, Ambulance, Corrections, Justice, Public Service, Education and volunteers.

The Kawana Station Advanced Care Paramedic is one of three finalists in the Achievement category.
Emma joined the QAS in 2015 while in her first year of a Bachelor of Paramedic Science at UniSC, which was inspired by her Aboriginal grandparents Maureen (Wakka Wakka) and Georgie (Gungarri) Williams, who had a vision to ensure their family received an education.

“I always had a dream to attend university to make my grandparents proud, especially my grandma who I was very close to growing up,” she said.

Emma also works on Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi Country as an Indigenous Liaison Officer and QAS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Committee member, driving CPR awareness, liaising with stakeholders on Health Equity, and working with the community on education, employment and engagement initiatives.

She was nominated by a colleague for her fundraising efforts after joining the second half of her partner James McAlloon’s Footsteps for Good trans-Australia walk from Alice Springs to Broome in 2022. The walk raised funds for The Purple House to support Northern Territory communities on Country by improving accessibility to healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In August, 2023, Emma also completed her solo Alice2Alex bike ride, a 2500kms trek from Alice Springs to Alexandra Headland, in just 23 days (with one rest day), which she said was her biggest challenge yet. “The walk motivated me to challenge myself with the thought of also completing the crossing of Australia solo, and a bike is much quicker than walking,” she said.

The ride raised funds for QAS Legacy, supporting staff and their families who lost loved ones, after their own charity event, Pedal for Paramedics, was postponed to 2024. “As a paramedic we are constantly taking care of loved ones for other people in the community, and I wanted to give back to my colleagues who also need help during these difficult times.”

Emma said she was surprised to be nominated for an Everyday Hero Award. “I believe that this journey to being a finalist is thanks to so many amazing people around me, as our successes are often only possible due to the sacrifices that others make to help us,” she said. Emma said her job was highly rewarding and she enjoyed meeting new people through her work, learning about their stories and working in challenging environments.

“Wearing my uniform affords me the privilege to be welcomed into someone else's safe space during what is, most often, their most vulnerable time, in crisis, and I can help,” she said.


Laurie Bateman - Queensland Police Service


A Police Officer who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to create opportunities for local Indigenous youth and the wider Indigenous community has been recognised for his efforts as a finalist in the QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards.
Constable Laurie Bateman is one of 22 finalists selected from across the state for the awards which celebrate the exceptional achievements of people within Queensland Police, Fire, Health, Ambulance, Corrections, Justice, Public Service, Education and volunteers.

He is one of three finalists in the Achievement category.
Laurie is a Kamilaroi man and third generation sheep shearer who spent 26 years on his family’s sheep station and broke a shearing world record before he started his journey with QPS as a Police Liaison officer in Cunnamulla.

He has been a sworn officer for four years, working in locations across the state, and is currently Youth Club Officer at the PCYC Palm Island, where he is creating opportunities for youth in the region.
Laurie has spent his career dedicated to supporting Indigenous communities, working on projects including the development of cultural awareness booklets with intention to create booklets specific to all 77 Queensland council shires, the Blue Light Driving program and Blue Light Shearing program.

He said the programs like Blue Light Driving had long-term impacts on his community.
“Blue light driving is collaborative approach with Police and Blue Light and community stakeholders to help youth and community members gather their necessary hours whilst on their learners to move on to their provisional driver’s license,” he said.

“It is a wonderful way to mentor the youth in a neutral environment.
He said Blue Light Shearing also helped participants gain confidence and develop a passion.
“Blue Light Shearing is a collaborative approach with Police and Blue light, QLD Education and industry with the target audience of disengaged youth 14 to 18-years-old,” Laurie said.

“The intention is to self-motivate by using an alternate learning approach.”
Laurie said he was humbled to be nominated for the award.
“I find my job so rewarding. I am so privileged to be a part of an organisation that has encouraged myself and others to help those that need help,” he said.

“If we can change one person and help them to head in a positive direction, how many others will that one person change in their life?”


Zoe Tidswell - Queensland Police Service


A Police officer breaking down barriers for youth offenders on the Gold Coast with the help of some four-legged friends has been recognised as a finalist in the QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards.

Nerang Acting Sergeant Zoe Tidswell is one of 22 finalists selected from across the state for the awards celebrating the exceptional achievements of people within Queensland Police, Fire, Health, Ambulance, Corrections, Justice, Public Service, Education and volunteers. Zoe joined the QPS as a recruit in 2015 and is now an Acting Sergeant at Nerang PCYC and works as a School Based Police Officer at Southport State High School. Her work in starting the Gold Coast Youth Responder Team is where she gained a passion for helping disengaged youth. 

Zoe has been the main driver of a joint initiative between the Animal Welfare League of Queensland and Queensland Police, which aims to engage at-risk youth by breaking down barriers with the help of shelter dogs. 

“Attendees learn to identify and alleviate stress in the animals and teach them behaviors that make them more desirable for adoption, such as obeying commands to sit, drop, stay, touch, come and walk on a loose leash,” Zoe said. 

“In return, the participants develop a sense of responsibility, connectedness to their community, self-esteem, problem-solving skills, and empathy. All the kids opened up and engaged fully with the program.” 

Zoe said the program had a positive effect on participants extending well beyond the program.

“It was great to see them actually being kids again,” she said. “The behavior of the three students has changed from minimal attendance at school to highly engaged, and their school results have improved. Of the three high-risk youth, two have not engaged in any offending behavior since completing the program.” 

The success of the initial four-week program led Gold Coast Police to run a second program with six participants for five weeks, which finished in March 2023. Her other community work includes making a young boy with terminal brain cancer achieve his dream of becoming a police officer for a day, and running a QPS community-based touch football competition to engage vulnerable and at-risk young people. 

She said she was honoured to be named a finalist in the QBANK Everyday Heroes Awards for her work. “It’s a great feeling to think the work I am doing with the youth on the Gold Coast matters to people,” Zoe said. “Being able to be a voice for young people and support them is very rewarding.”