Morcombes win recognition in Queen's Birthday honours list
THE Sunshine Coast couple who turned their own horrific personal tragedy into a nationwide crusade to protect children have been recognised with one of the country's top awards.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe have been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to the community through safety awareness programs for children, announced in the Queen's Birthday 2013 Honours List.
The parents of murdered Palmwoods boy Daniel Morcombe were named as one of six Sunshine Coast recipients as they announced plans for their first Daniel Morecombe Foundation national school tour.
Fresh from a visit to schools in centres including Bundaberg, Emerald and Townsville, the Morcombes said it was an honour to be nominated for and receive an OAM.
"We never work for awards or medals, but this just underlines the credibility of the work we are doing," Mr Morcombe said.
"This was a stroke from left field for us; we didn't know any award like this was brewing.
"I guess now we can put OAM at the end of our last name, but I think Morcombe is already long enough," he said with a laugh.
The couple said the foundation they created in Daniel's name had always been about a bigger team than just their family.
"We always like to recognise our committee, volunteers and staff and people that have supported us over the whole journey," Mr Morcombe said.
"Truth be told, in mid-2011 the foundation was very much strapped for cash and it was only until August during the arrest (of the man alleged to have abducted and killed Daniel) that the whole of Australia stood up and said, 'This is terrible, how can we help?'
"We have been going for the past two years because of the generosity of people who reached out to help us."
The Morcombes started the Daniel Morcombe Foundation in 2005 and have since visited more than 400 schools, arming young people with the skills for personal safety.
In October, the couple will jump aboard their custom-built van for a 66-day national tour to spread their child safety message.
They will travel clockwise around the country, visiting the capital cities and regional centres.