Around three hundred volunteer firefighters and CFA staff members across Victoria’s South East in CFA’s District 8 have been honoured with National Emergency Medals for their efforts in the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire crisis over the weekend.
The National Emergency Medal is part of Australia’s Honours and Awards system and recognises significant or sustained service to others in a nationally significant Australian emergency.
At a ceremony on Saturday, 12 August at Berwick Church of Christ in Berwick, firefighters from across Cardinia and Casey Groups became the latest of more than 5,500 CFA members to receive the honour for the 2019-2020 fires.
Deputy Chief Officer Trevor Owen presented the medals and said they were an important recognition of the valiant efforts of CFA members.
“The National Emergency Medal is a formal recognition that Australia appreciates the efforts and contributions of CFA members during the 2019-2020 bushfire crisis,” DCO Owen said.
“It is a great honour to receive this medal and I hope it goes a small way to thanking our members for their service.”
DCO Owen spoke of his pride for the CFA members’ efforts.
“As firefighters, we save lives, homes and our precious environment,” DCO Owen said.
“There is no greater sacrifice than putting your life on the line to save and help another.
“As volunteer firefighters, we respond 24/7, 365 days of the year because we choose to. We’re ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the service and protection of others.”
Kylie Shanks, Secretary and Brigade Safety Coordinator of Nar Nar Goon Brigade, shared that being a recipient of an National Emergency Medal is a great honour.
“When we volunteer, we make the choice to support our communities in all situations,” Kylie said.
“We are not after recognition; we just want to support our communities during their most vulnerable times.”
A further 413 volunteers from Peninsula, Westernport, South East and Bass Groups will receive a National Emergency Medal on Saturday, 26 August at New Peninsula Baptist Church in Mount Martha.