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National Emergency Medals
More than 570 CFA members from across Northern and Western Metropolitan Region were awarded a National Emergency Medal at presentations held in May and June.
The medal presentation ceremonies, held at Keilor Park and South Morang, honoured members who served during the 2009 Victorian fires in both front-line and behind-the-scenes roles.
The National Emergency Medal, which is coordinated and approved by the Governor-General’s office in Canberra, recognises service to others during an emergency of national significance.
CFA N&WM Regional Director Greg Esnouf described the occasion as a dignified and fitting tribute to the efforts of those who served during the 2009 fires.
“District 14 members were directly impacted by the Kilmore East fire, with many of our crews among the first responders,” he said.
David Allen, who as Acting Regional Director took part in proceedings for two of the N&WM ceremonies, said it had been an extremely emotional experience for all involved.
“This was about appreciation of our people and the families that supported them to do what they were able to do to protect their communities,” he said.
“There were a significant number of family members there, and just looking out you could see the smiles on people’s faces and the feeling of appreciation and gratitude in the room.
“I just have to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all these wonderful people. In over 40 years of being involved with CFA it was probably one of the most sincere and genuine events I’ve attended. It was an honour to be Acting Regional Director at the time," said David.
David also thanked Dini Shepherd, the partner of deceased CFA member Joe Shepherd, who was tragically lost in the line of duty, for graciously accepting the award on his behalf.
"It was also wonderful that David McGahy's wife could be there," he said. David McGahy (OAM) was captain of Arthur’s Creek & Strathewen brigade in 2009, and worked tirelessly for the community’s recovery. David sadly passed away in April this year.
Greg Esnouf reiterated his congratulations and thanks for everyone in the region and added how proud he had felt personally to receive a National Emergency Medal alongside so many others.
“It was a very great honour to have it presented to me in front of my family,” he said.
Mt Cottrell and Hume Groups of Brigades - 25 May
Medals were presented by Mr Bernie Finn MLA, Member for the Western Metropolitan Region together with Regional Director Greg Esnouf.
Whittlesea/Diamond Valley Group of Brigades – 3 June; Presented by Claire Higgins, CFA Chair, together with Alan Ellis, Deputy Chief Officer.
Nillumbik Group of Brigades – 4 June; Presented by John Peberdy, CFA Deputy Chair together with Euan Ferguson AFSM, CFA Chief Officer.
Personnel from Northern and Western Metropolitan Region were also represented among the National Emergency Medal recipients.