CFA Board Member Dawn Hartog, Recipient Chris Lynch Captain Alexandra Brigade, Minister for Emergency Services Jaclyn Symes
Two hundred local volunteer firefighters and CFA staff members have been honoured with National Emergency Medals for their efforts in the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire crisis.
At ceremonies on Saturday, 3 June and Sunday, 4 June, firefighters from across Mitchell and Murrindindi Shires became the latest of more than 5,500 CFA members to receive the honour.
The National Emergency Medal is part of Australia’s Honours and Awards system and formally recognises significant or sustained service to others in a nationally significant Australian emergency.
Minister for Emergency Services Jaclyn Symes joined CFA Board member Dawn Hartog to present the medals on Sunday. District 12 Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Colin Brown praised the valiant efforts of CFA members.
“It is a great honour to receive this medal and I hope it goes a small way to thanking our members for their service,” Colin said.
“They were quite willing to go away and sacrifice their time, as they knew if they were experiencing the same conditions back in their home regions, they’d receive the same support.
“Some volunteers who travelled to East Gippsland and New South Wales had only just completed their recruitment courses and were exposed to some major fires.”
CFA Board member Dawn Hartog spoke of her pride for the CFA members’ efforts.
“The 2019/2020 fires devastated East Gippsland and the North East of Victoria,” Dawn 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 every one of them. Whether they joined a firefighting strike team, worked in an Incident Control Centre or provided other assistance to affected communities.
The wholesome event saw Caitlin Roberts, daughter of recipient Terry Roberts from Wandong Fire Brigade, singing the national anthem across both days.
Limestone Fire Brigade member Neil Beer AFSM, who was Master of Ceremonies for Sunday’s ceremony as well as being a medal recipient himself, 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,” Neil said.
“It’s a fair commitment of time for a lot of people, and it often sees you head away for up to seven days, and many need to take annual leave to go interstate with strike teams.
“It truly is recognition of service given.”
- Matthew Carlton (Buxton Brigade) Andrew Wood (3rd LT Alexandra Brigade)
- Recipients from Trawool Brigade
- Acting Regional Commander Rob Van Dorsser, Recipient and Secretary for Eildon Brigade Ken Dare
- Caitlin Roberts
- 2019/2020 National Emergency Medal