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Dave O'Brien - Commendation for Service
Dave O’Brien has been awarded a Commendation for Service in recognition of his contribution to the Boolarra brigade, the Morwell and Merton Groups, and to Districts 10 and 27. This award was presented by Operations Manager Bill Johnstone at the annual Merton Group Dinner held on 9 December 2016.
Dave O'Brien has been a member of CFA for 39 years with the Boolarra Fire Brigade. During this time, Dave has held an officer position for 10 years and has provided wonderful service to the brigade.
In 2009, when the Delburn Complex fire was burning in the week prior to Black Saturday (eventually burnt over 9,000 hectares, destroyed 30 homes, and numerous sheds and outbuildings), Dave was thrown into the being the Commander of the Boolarra sector without having had any experience of managing significant fires. Dave tackled this task with fervour, acting in this role for three days and supervising approximately 40 appliances and altogether over 300 personnel.
Dave was also instrumental in leading the Boolarra Community through the recovery phase as a committee member of the Boolarra Community Development Group, with that group also leading the production and distribution of a Local Emergency Action Plan for the Boolarra and Yinnar communities.
Dave was also one of those instrumental in working with Emergency Management Victoria to ensure that both Boolarra and Yinnar were provided with a Community Alerting Siren in the years following Black Saturday.
Dave has also been a member of the Morwell Group of Fire Brigades since July 2006 and in that year was elected to be the Group Training Officer. He held that position until June 2008, when he was elected 3rd Deputy Group Officer (DGO) with responsibility for Training. In June 2010, Dave was elected to the 2nd DGO position with responsibility for Training. Dave was then elected in June 2014 to the 1st DGO position with responsibility for Training which he held until the Morwell Group of Brigades was disbanded in June 2015 when CFA District 27 was formed. As part of the formation of District 27, the Merton Group of Fire Brigades was formed in July 2015, and Dave was elected 2nd Deputy Group Officer with responsibility for Training for the Merton Group of Fire Brigades.
In all of the roles Dave has played in the Morwell and Merton Groups of Fire Brigades, training has been his passion. This passion has also lead to Dave being elected the Morwell Group delegate in June 2008 to the CFA District 10 Training Committee, which oversaw the delivery of training across the whole of District 10. In keeping with his passion for training, Dave was a very strong voice in the District 10 Training Committee and was very keen to see the training profile across the whole of District 10 lifted to ensure that members were ready for the challenges their emergency response activities presented to them. Along with others from that Committee, Dave was responsible for implementing a program of District Exercises so that the capacity of the District and Groups could be tested ahead of having to act under emergency conditions.
It is this passion for training and the sustained exemplary leadership of training coordination and delivery shown by Dave through first his brigade, then the Groups, as well as to both CFA Districts 10 and 27 that resulted in CFA recognising Dave for this outstanding and ongoing service by awarding him a Commendation for Service.
Congratulations Dave on this magnificent achievement.