By Justin Flynn
Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club’s Bo Chudosnik was awarded a National Medal on Sunday April 10.
The National Medal was established by the Commonwealth of Australia in 1975 as one of the original elements of the distinctive Australian system of honours and awards. The medal recognises long and diligent service by members of recognised government and voluntary organisations that risk their lives or safety to protect or assist the community.
Bo’s remarkable contribution in preserving the safety of our beach goers began in 1985 when he first gained his Bronze Medallion and since then he has had a key role in patrolling our beaches for 37 years, assisting with the training and assessment of club members, contributing to the development of young members and generally being a passionate contributor to members well-being and the club as a whole.
Bo said Dave Renton, who the patrol tower is named after, was a huge influence on him.
“He did 55 years of service,” he said.
“He was a great mentor. There have been lots of people in the life saving club that have done heaps and heaps of hours to keep our beaches safe. I’m very humbled.”
Bo started surf life saving because he wasn’t a good swimmer and wanted to improve and eventually went on to become club champion.
He shed a tear when he was presented with his medal, which came with a blue and yellow ribbon.
“The ribbon is blue and yellow and my heritage is Ukrainian and I still have family there,” he said.
“I got very emotional.”
Bo’s message to young people thinking about getting involved is simple.
“Absolutely just do it,” he said.
“If you’re not a competitor and don’t want to do Nippers, there are lots of other things you can do.
“If they aren’t into footy or netball in winter or cricket in summer it’s nice to be able to go down to the beach and identify a rip or have the confidence to help out in a rescue situation whether that’s first aid or just helping.”
Bo was also awarded life membership by the club in 2017 for his long-standing contributions and to the advancement of lifesaving in Ocean Grove.