State accolade for child safety greats
THEY'RE known for their unwavering dedication to one of the country's largest child safety organisations that was founded in their son's memory, and now they have been named as some of Queensland's Greats.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe OAM, who were determined to ensure no family lived through the same tragedy they did, joined seven other recipients who were recognised for their contributions to the state and the world.
Mr and Mrs Morcombe said they were appreciative of the "daunting" accolade and wanted to acknowledge the team of supporters who inspired them since Daniel's disappearance in 2003.
"There is really an army of people, some have drifted in, some have drifted out, and some of them are still with us today … and that's why we find ourselves where we are," Mr Morcombe said.
"So many people have pushed us forward and we don't want to let them down, so we acknowledge that help and suddenly you are inspired, it's amazing."
Founding the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, less than two years after the abduction of their son, growing Day for Daniel into a nationally recognised event, and providing vital education services for children including Australia's Biggest Child Safety Lesson were just some of the successes that led Mr and Mrs Morcombe to their most recent award.
For Mrs Morcombe, Day for Daniel, held on the last Friday every October, was one of her most valued accomplishments.
"It's my biggest achievement, it's in Daniel's memory, but it also educates thousands of thousands of children right around the country," she said.
"I'm proud and I'm sure Daniel would be proud too."
Mr Morcombe said seeing the difference they could make to victims of crime through their counselling service was heartwarming.
"Some of the stories you hear years later you think 'wow that is something to hang your hat on as a significant achievement'," he said.
"We often say that while Daniel was here for a short time, he actually gave us a tremendous gift which is the impact through the notoriety of Daniel's case … It is amazing connection that Daniel has provided, and we recognise that we have made something good from a terrible tragedy.
"The world is better place because of Daniel and that's awesome."
In its 20th year, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the 2020 Queensland Greats awards recognised and celebrated the recipients who had one common trait: service to the community.
Ms Palaszczuk said it was particularly pleasing that so many of this year's recipients were from regional Queensland.
"Every one of our Queensland Greats has worked to make other people's lives better, some after overcoming incredible adversity themselves," she said.
"They display strength, courage, ingenuity, talent and determination - all of the things that continue to make Queensland what it is."
The 2020 Queensland Greats included;
•Associate Professor James Morton AM
•Nancy Bates OAM
•Angus Lane OAM
•Father Mick Lowcock
•Richard (Darby) McCarthy OAM
The awards are the highlight of Queensland Day, marking the day when the State of Queensland was proclaimed on June 6, 1859.
As a lasting tribute, each Queensland Great is honoured with a commemorative plaque displayed at Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane.