THE MUM of a teenager who suffered severe burns has paid tribute to the award-winning fire service worker who has supported him.
Julie Mullen, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, has helped Connor Rowntree, 17, and his family after he was badly injured in an accident involving an aerosol in May 2009.
Julie has spent hours with the family, both professionally and personally, and recently visited Connor in hospital after he underwent another operation, after already enduring more than 100.
Now Julie, crew manager prevention and education at Sunderland West Community Fire Station, in Washington, has been given the Chief Fire Officer’s Award at the brigade’s Rise (Recognising Initiative and Service Excellence) ceremony.
Today, Connor’s mum Carol, 47, from Houghton, paid tribute to Julie, the family’s “invaluable supporter and friend”, who often accompanies them on safety talks at schools.
“She truly deserves this award,” she said. “She is fabulous with Connor. She absolutely adores him.”
Julie said: “While I am really pleased to receive the award, I really am just doing my job. The Rowntree family are absolutely amazing. It has been a journey for us all and they make me feel incredibly humble.”
Iain Bathgate, who recently retired as chief fire officer, said: “In my time as chief it has never failed to impress me that we have so many fantastic people working within our organisation.
“Since these awards were established, we have heard many inspiring stories of dedication and devotion that go way above and beyond the call of duty.
“At a time when we are facing extremely difficult challenges in the face of unprecedented budget cuts, it is great that we can recognise and reward these outstanding efforts among our peers, long may it continue.”
The Rise Awards aim to honour fire service staff who have demonstrated outstanding achievement, enthusiasm and commitment above and beyond their normal duties.
John Ord won the award for Best Community Safety Contribution.
John is Watch Manager for the Sunderland Phoenix Project, which helps young offenders or young people at risk of offending to get their lives back on track.
The Innovation/Efficiency Savings Award was presented to the team of Steve Graham, Shaun Kelly, and the Service’s Media Resources Unit (MRU) who are all based at the service’s headquarters on Wearside.
Steve, Shaun and the MRU team worked together to produce a British Sign Language film for Deaf Awareness Week 2011.
Staff could nominate their colleagues for four categories in the awards, which were judged by an independent panel from the John Lewis store in Newcastle.