Dedicated CFA members from District 23 in the Hume region were recognised for their extraordinary service during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires with National Emergency Medals on Sunday.
Representing Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Minister Kim Wells at Benalla, State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes awarded 111 CFA members from Region 23 with the prestigious national honour.
CFA members from Benalla, Goorambat, Lurg, Tatong and Thoona were among those who received medals.
‘‘CFA members provided sustained service and support to protect local communities during a period of great destruction and loss over the 2008-09 summer,’’ Dr Sykes said.
‘‘They worked hard and fought bravely to protect lives and property during a long and extremely difficult fire campaign.
‘‘Teams from this region were on hand to deal with the very worst of the Black Saturday fires and were involved for long periods to protect local communities.’’
The National Emergency Medal was established to recognise sustained service to others during a declared nationally significant emergency. National Emergency Medals have been awarded to volunteers involved in only two other nationally significant emergencies: Cyclone Yasi and the Queensland floods of December 2010 and January 2011.
Ceremonies are being held across Victoria to award more than 4470 National Emergency Medals, which carry a clasp engraved with ‘Vic Fires 09’.
‘‘Victoria has among the world’s best emergency services, and CFA staff and volunteers perform an incredible job responding to serious challenges and emergencies,’’ Dr Sykes said.
‘‘They are prepared to drop everything at a moment’s notice and put their lives on the line in the service of the community.
‘‘Their actions during the 2009 campaign are a great example of the commitment and dedication shown by our emergency services personnel every day.’’ Top honours: Benalla CFA recipients Jamie Beaton, Elspeth Gawley, Patrick Glynn, Graham Green, Edward Griffiths, John Harrison, Shane Nedeljkovic, Stephen Phillips, William Polwarth and Charles Sexton are presented with their medals. Pictures: Warren Mitchelson
Tatong recipients: Andy Bowering, Tracy Bowering, Robert Erskine, Joe Hakkennes, Alan Hawes, Dennis Hevey, Paul Larkin, Keir Larter, Barry Lewis, Mathew Lewis, Wayne Lewis, Rod Lindsay, John Manser, Robert Mazurak, Colin McCauly, Terry O’Brien, Brian Ritchie, Gayle Ritchie, Timothy Szczerkowski, Mike Turner, Chris Wylie and Lynda Wylie.
Thoona recipients: Robert Fraser and Anthony Rak received the honours from Thoona Fire Brigade.
Goorambat recipients: David Johnson, Mick Johnson, Donald McKenzie and Lynette Pauwels.
Lurg recipient: Geoff Rowe is presented with his medal by State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes, State Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy and various CFA personnel.