More than one hundred Dandenong and Knox volunteer firefighters and 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 Wednesday, 12 July and Sunday, 16 July at Mater Christi College in Belgrave, 158 firefighters from across CFA’s District 13 became the latest of more than 5,500 CFA members to receive the honour for the 2019-2020 fires.
CFA Board Member Peter Shaw 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,” Shaw AFSM 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 Chief Officer Jason Heffernan spoke of his pride for the CFA members’ efforts.
“The 2019/2020 fires devastated East Gippsland and the North East of Victoria,” CO Heffernan 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 made a real difference.”
Knox Group Officer, Master of Ceremonies and recipient on Sunday, Peter Carew, 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 our fellow Australians in need. We come home, dust ourselves off and get ready for the next one,” Peter said.
“However, this honour goes a long way in recognising the significant efforts members went to, to protect the communities and their assets under threat, in what was such a challenging event.”
A further 106 volunteers from Maroondah and Yarra Valley will receive a National Emergency medal on Sunday, 23 July at Yarra Valley Lodge in Chirnside Park.