Two well-regarded CFA members have been awarded an Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in recognition of their dedicated service through CFA as part of the King’s first Birthday Honours List.
The AFSM is the highest award for a member of an Australian fire service and recognises distinguished service and a devoted execution of special duties that go above and beyond normal work.
The two members have more than 58 years of service between them and have made a tangible difference to CFA and their respective communities, with a strong focus on safety, efficiency, and wellbeing of members, and a passion for training opportunities and inclusivity.
The recipients have served in some of the most severe disasters in Victoria, having extensive experience on the fireground in strike teams and Incident Management Teams in the 2019/2020 bushfires, and as strike time leaders in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
The 2023 CFA Australian Fire Service Medal recipients are:
Paul Denham has demonstrated exceptional leadership, passion, and expertise across his 40 years of service with CFA. As Captain of Buxton Fire Brigade, Paul is a highly experienced and respected firefighter in urban and rural settings and holds a formidable legacy for his community engagement. Having worked as a Deputy Group Officer, Lieutenant, Logistics Officer, and Divisional Commander, Paul has established himself as a capable and trusted operational leader in field command roles.
Dawn Hartog has provided 18 years of influential and dedicated service to CFA, initially as a staff member, now as a volunteer and a highly driven board member. As an active operational firefighter and Captain of Toolangi Fire Brigade, Dawn has distinguished herself by her outstanding ability to effectively engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders that has positively led to advances in how Victoria promotes and manages fire prevention and preparedness.
Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook congratulated the recipients on their outstanding dedication and contributions which have greatly improved service delivery and safety of the Victorian community.
“CFA is incredibly proud of its volunteers and staff, and it is fantastic to see our members recognised for their exemplary emergency management leadership and advocacy,” Garry said.
“As community-conscious ambassadors, this year’s recipients have committed themselves to building long-lasting relationships to educate our communities on fire safety and risk while investing their time toward increasing CFA’s capability and performance to protect lives and property.
“We are privileged as an organisation to have such devoted members who are so highly respected by their peers for the phenomenal work they do. I thank them for their dedication.”
CFA would also like to recognise CFA volunteer Leslie Kelly who was awarded the prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) as part of the King's Birthday Honours for his service to the community through emergency response organisations. Leslie has been a CFA member for more than 50 years, and a District 7 HQ Brigade Captain since 2008.