CFA members honoured with Australian Fire Service Medals

Member News image CFA members honoured with Australian Fire Service Medals


Two highly respected CFA members have been awarded an Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in the King’s Birthday Honours List, in recognition of their exceptional CFA service.


The AFSM is the highest award for a member of an Australian fire service, acknowledged twice a year, and recognises their unwavering devotion and dedication in ensuring community safety and protection.  

The two recipients have more than 84 years of service between them and have operated as innovative pioneers and remarkable leaders within their respective communities and across broader CFA.  

While they have been a driving force behind operational delivery effectiveness, fire prevention and training frameworks, their most notable work comes from their strategy and advocacy in helping to enhance the leadership capacity of CFA volunteers.  

From the horrendous bushfire conditions of Ash Wednesday in 1983, to significant flood and fire events over recent years, the recipients have served in some of the most severe disasters in Victoria as Incident Controllers, State Agency Commanders, Strike Team leaders and firefighters.  

The 2024 CFA Australian Fire Service Medal recipients are: 

Over more than 35 years, Gavin Thompson has exemplified admirable leadership, innovation, operational skills and commitment to community safety with CFA. He has performed various roles from firefighter through to his current position of Deputy Chief Officer North West Region.  

Gavin is a respected figure among his peers and CFA’s volunteer base and across the emergency management sector. He has shown demonstrated great technical, administrative and leadership skills and has made it his mission to support and develop those around him. 

Stephen Hicks has distinguished himself as an outstanding leader, trainer and mentor for more than 49 years with CFA. He has served as Captain of Narre Warren North and Pakenham Upper Fire Brigades and Deputy Group Officer in the Pakenham and Cardinia Groups. He now leads from the front as 1st Deputy Group Officer of the Cardinia Group and as 3rd Lieutenant at Pakenham Upper Fire Brigade.   

He is highly regarded for his passionate efforts and achievements toward fire preparedness, fuel reduction and fire response. Stephen continuously works to improve the level of competency and performance of volunteers at all levels, with a key focus on wildfire behaviour, Crew Leaders, and Strike Team Leaders.   

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan congratulated the two deserving recipients and thanked them for their influential leadership and their passionate approach to enhancing fire prevention and communication practices within CFA.  

“CFA is incredibly proud of its volunteers and staff, and it is wonderful to see our members recognised with the highest fire service medal in the country for their inspiring achievements,” Jason said.   

“As humble hard-working members, this year’s recipients have embodied CFA’s values for countless years and continue to enrich our firefighters on the ground, at CFA headquarters and within their local communities. 

“We are fortunate as an organisation to have such invaluable leaders who are so highly respected by their peers. I thank them for their dedication and instrumental contributions.”  

CFA would like to recognise Fire Rescue Victoria and former CFA firefighter Cory Woodyatt and former Northern Territory firefighter who has since returned to Swan Hill Fire Brigade Geoffrey Kenna for their AFSM honours. We thank them for their extensive contributions toward enhancing equipment and training practices within CFA and Victoria’s fire services.  

Another eight current and former CFA members were also awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for the service to their communities, including Wilhelmina Armstrong, Eric Bumpstead, Phillip Collins, Robert Dean, Michael McLaughlin, Karen Noonan, Bernard Sinnott and Dianne Spark. CFA also congratulates Grovedale Fire Brigade 1st Lieutenant James Mullins who was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his significant service to his community. 


Submitted by CFA media