Flood hero presented with overseas scholarship by Queensland Governor
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
An electrician who worked to restore power during Brisbane's floods was today presented with a prestigious scholarship at Brisbane Parliament House.
The Governor of Queensland, Her Excellency Ms Penelope Wensley AC, presented the award to Benjamin Lowrey, 30.
Benjamin was awarded the opportunity to live and work in Canada by the Queensland Overseas Foundation, a voluntary non profit organisation.
The foundation is sponsored by Queensland Industry and supported by the State Government to provide international vocational experience to specially selected young tradespersons who have completed their formal training.
Benjamin, who was among five young Queenslanders to be awarded the scholarships, worked on the field and with crews to restore power during Brisbane's devastating floods in January.
"I was in the switching restoration so I was involved with all the high voltage operations," he said.
"I needed to speak with residents in their actual homes because we had to do inspections on their electrical switchboards.
"The emotion was very high."
Benjamin said scholarships like these could bring much needed support to places like his hometown of Cairns, which is still recovering from the effects of Cyclone Yasi.
"Being from Cairns, I know it would have devastated their primary industry both emotionally and financially," he said.
"They have a long road to come back from."
Queensland Overseas Foundation Chairman Peter Costantini said the scholarships will benefit Queensland industries in the long term.
"These Queenslanders are able to get an international vocational experience like no other," Mr Costantini said.
"Since the Foundation started in 1976, the young people who won the scholarships offer considerable benefit to our industries when they bring their new skills and lessons back home.
"For the recipients of the awards, this is an invaluable opportunity for themselves and the community that they otherwise would not have."
Governor Penelope Wensley said the scholarships will play a pivotal role in the development of Queensland's industries.
"These are enterprising and talented young men and women, who are now given the opportunity to fulfil their potential," she said.
Former winner Ranu Obaha travelled to London to work in hospitality at Andaz on Liverpool Street.
"The different atmosphere and experiences will take the winners out of their comfort zones," he said.
"It really is a passport to the world."
You can register your interest in applying for the 2011 awards by sending an enquiry email via the Queensland Overseas Foundation website
Scholarship recipients are available for interviews and photographs.
For more information, please contact Patrick MacDonald (Cole Lawson Communications) on (07) 3221 2220 or 0421 520 622.