Photo: (left to right) CFA Board member Ross Coyle ASFM, Tungamah Fire Brigade member Stephen Butchers and CFA A/CO Garry Cook. Members of Strathmerton Fire Brigade.
More than 185 local volunteer firefighters and six CFA staff members have been honoured with National Emergency Medals for their efforts in the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire crisis.
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 ceremonies on Thursday, 22 June and Sunday, 25 June 2023, firefighters from across City of Greater Shepparton, Moira and Strathbogie became the latest of more than 5,500 CFA members to receive the honour for the 2019-2020 fires.
Ross Coyle AFSM and Dawn Hartog AFSM 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,” they 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.
CFA Acting CEO Jason Heffernan spoke of his pride for the CFA members’ efforts.
“The 2019/2020 fires devastated East Gippsland and the North East of Victoria,” he said.
“But from that crisis arose the most remarkable human spirit of generosity and ‘lending a hand’.
“Our medal recipients have exemplified that spirit, and I am incredibly proud of each and every one of them.
“Whether they joined a firefighting strike team, worked in an Incident Control Centre or provided other assistance to affected communities – every contribution was valuable made a real difference.”
Group Officer and medal recipient, Campbell Hickey said it was an honour to be formally recognised.
“Volunteer fireys don’t do the job for praise or awards – we do it to help out fellow Australians in need. That said, it is nice for the hard work of our volunteers to be formally recognised in this way,” he said.