Forty-seven National Emergency Medals and four RFS Long Service Medals were presented over the weekend at the Chifley/Lithgow Medal Presentation to well deserving Rural Fire Service volunteers for their dedication to keeping our communities safe.
The National Emergency Medal is reserved only for those who rendered sustained or significant service during nationally significant emergencies in Australia. The recent medal ceremony recognised the outstanding work completed by the RFS in the devastating 2019/2020 fire season.
Teams of volunteers from the Chifley/Lithgow District which comprises of 54 brigades protected the Bathurst electorate and other parts of the state from the fires of 2019/2020 with some volunteers away for months at a time and others sadly losing their own homes whilst out protecting someone else’s.
The long service acknowledgements accumulated to over 80 years of service between four volunteers. Captain Michelle Swaan received an RFS Long Service Medal for 14 years of service as well as Renae Barron for 12 years of service, both from the Black Springs brigade. Colin Roberts from Mayfield Brigade was recognised for 27 years of service and Paul Dwyer from Gingkin Brigade for 28 years.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole attended the ceremony to present the medals and congratulate the volunteers.
“It is very rare and special to have such dedicated professionals who frequently give up their own time and livelihoods to help others in times of emergency. You should all be very proud as should your families and communities,” said Mr Toole.
“The 2019/2020 summer was a harrowing fire season and you really rose to the challenge of facing unprecedented fires that tore through the state. We in the community are so grateful that we could call on you and your courage to battle blazes and protect us.”