District 14 NEM presentation. Photo courtesy of Uniform Photography
More than 300 local volunteer firefighters have been honoured with National Emergency Medals 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.
At two ceremonies on Sunday 12 November and one on Monday 13 November 2023, 340 firefighters and 10 CFA staff members from across Nillumbik, Banyule, Whittlesea, Hume, Melton and Wyndham Councils became the latest of more than 5,500 CFA members to receive the honour for the 2019-20 fires.
CFA District 14 Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tim Holland 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 2019-20 bushfire crisis,” he 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 2019-20 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."
North Warrandyte Captain and medal recipient Trent Burriss 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.
Trent received his National Emergency Medal during Monday night’s ceremony having only returned from a deployment to the Queensland fires on Sunday.