RECOGNITION: Gaye Schmierer with the medal she won for helping Brisbane recover from the 2011 flood.
RECOGNITION: Gaye Schmierer with the medal she won for helping Brisbane recover from the 2011 flood. Tanya Easterby

Our Gaye is a ‘Guiding light’

CEDAR Pocket mother Gaye Schmierer drew on her lifetime experience as a Girl Guide to help Brisbane's recovery from the 2011 floods.

The then Brisbane City Council worker applied all the lessons she learned as a Girl Guide, particularly the one about being prepared.

Her efforts have now been recognised with the National Emergency Medal, awarded by Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

The medal, which recognises "sustained service in response to nationally significant emergencies," was established by the Queen on a visit to Australia in 2011.

It was only after the long and arduous hands-on work of cleaning up the mud and debris at Morningside that she discovered she was pregnant.

"I was chucking sandbags around at the depot and I ended up telling Kevin Rudd off for being there, before I realised who he was.

"He helped out for about half an hour and was dripping with sweat."

Gaye admitted she preferred working with trucks and excavators rather than the computers she was chained to after her pregnancy became known.

"You can kick trucks when they break down, but computers don't work if you do that," she said at home yesterday, with the daughter she was carrying during the emergency - Rebekah, now two and a half,