Ser­vice recog­nised

Benalla Ensign - - News -

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.

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