Governor-General David Hurley with Tracey Johnston from Mallacoota Fire Brigade
Three hundred and forty-eight East Gippsland volunteer firefighters and CFA staff members have been honoured with National Emergency Medals (NEM) for their efforts in the 2019-20 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.
The East Gippsland ceremonies on Friday 6 May and Saturday 7 May are the first of many CFA events over the coming months to award more than 5,500 medals to those who served in the crisis.
His Excellency Governor-General David Hurley, Board member Dawn Hartog and Chief Officer Jason Heffernan attended the events to present the medals.
His Excellency Governor-General David Hurley said it was an essential part of recognising the service of CFA volunteers during the bushfire crisis.
“The National Emergency Medal acknowledges the efforts that have been made during some of our country’s most challenging periods," His Excellency said.
“The NEM is a means of saying thank you to recipients – and that Australia recognises the service they have given.
“In recognising individuals here in East Gippsland, we also highlight and celebrate the tremendous contributions that have – and continue to be – made by CFA volunteers across Victoria.”
Pic: Governor-General David Hurley with Ben Hoffman from Bairnsdale Fire Brigade
CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan spoke of his pride for the CFA members’ efforts.
“The 2019-20 fires devastated East Gippsland and the North East of Victoria. But from that crisis arose the most remarkable human spirit of generosity and ‘lending a hand’,” he said.
“Our medal recipients have exemplified that spirit, and I am incredibly proud of each and every one of them.
“Recovery efforts are continuing in affected communities to this day, and hopefully this recognition and celebration of service contributes towards the process of healing as well.”
- From L-R Lakes Entrance Captain and MC Phil Loukes South East Region Deputy Chief Officer Trevor Owen Board Member Dawn Hartog Board Member Peter Shaw Mossi-Tambo Captain Christine Bittner Chief Officer Jason Heffernan Volunteer Fire Brigades Victori
- Governor-General David Hurley