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Cave rescue doctor in the running for South Australian of the year

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Cave diving hero and Adelaide anaesthetist Dr Richard Harris is in the running to be named South Australian of the year.

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Harris shot to international fame in July when he played a key role in the rescue of a team of young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

Using his medical skills and 30-years of cave diving experience, he was crucial to the successful operation that captured worldwide attention.

Harris was about to leave for a cave-diving holiday when he received the call for help and immediately travelled to Thailand with friend and diving buddy Craig Challen from Perth.

Along with other rescue divers, the pair navigated the narrow cave system to assess the health of those trapped, giving the medical all-clear for each evacuee and administering an anaesthetic to help with their rescue.

Along with a group of Australian defence and police specialists, both Harris and Challen were presented with bravery awards by the Federal Government after the 18-day operation.

Also in the running for the SA award are mountaineer Katie Sarah, body image advocate and maker of the documentary Embrace Taryn Brumfitt, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s advocate Vicky Welgraven.

The first woman to be a field umpire in an AFL game, Eleni Glouftsis, has been nominated in the young South Australian category.

The winners will be announced on November 1 in a ceremony at Adelaide Oval.

The state winners will be in the running for the national awards, to be announced in Canberra on January 25.

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

2019 SOUTH AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR
Taryn Brumfitt – Body image advocate (Cumberland Park)
Dr Richard Harris SC OAM – Specialist anaesthetist and cave diver (Toorak Gardens)
Katie Sarah – Mountaineer, pioneer and volunteer
Vicky Welgraven – Women’s advocate (Pooraka)

2019 SOUTH AUSTRALIA SENIOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR
Reginald Dodd – Reconciliation advocate (Marree)
Dr Robert Irving – Veterinarian (Collinswood)
Barry Lewis – Umpire and mentor (Adelaide)
Geoff Stewart – Ambulance Service Volunteer (Tumby Bay)

2019 SOUTH AUSTRALIA YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR
Eleni Glouftsis – Australia’s first female AFL umpire (Brunswick)
Arefa Hassani – Advocate for asylum seekers and refugees (Parafield Gardens)
Stephany Martin – Rotary Youth Leadership Awards District Chair (Klemzig)
Apiu Nyang – Ambassador for refugee youth (Parafield Gardens)

2019 SOUTH AUSTRALIA LOCAL HERO
Reuben Burton – Community leader and education advocate (Ernabella)
Jelina Haines – Artist and academic (Gawler)
Megan McLoughlin – Advocate for organ donation (Tanunda)
Associate Professor Chris Zeitz – Pioneer in rural health services (Glenelg)

– with AAP

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