Monto’s Australian Fire Service Medal recipient rubs shoulders with royalty
WHEN Roger Stubbs opened his letterbox on March 19 he was expecting the usual junk mail and bills, but inside one unassuming little envelope was a royal surprise.
It was an official invitation to Government House.
The mysterious letter left him with more questions than answers.
“His Excellency The Governor The Honourable Paul De Jersey AC and Mrs Kaye De Jersey,” it read.
“Request the pleasure of the company of Mr R. Stubbs AFSM at a Reception in the presence of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.”
Mr Stubbs wasn’t sure what to make of it.
“I couldn’t work out why I had been invited,” he said.
“I was born in England but I’m not a royalist by a long shot.”
It was an offer too good to pass up.
When the date rolled around last Friday, he put on his suit and made the five-and-a-half hour drive down to Brisbane.
Twice yearly, on Australia Day and the Queen’s Birthday, remarkable Australian men and women are honoured for their outstanding contribution to society.
It was precisely that contribution which earned Mr Stubbs the invitation.
In 2013, he received the Australian Fire Service Medal as recognition of a distinguished 42-year career as a Queensland firefighter.
Among the expected dignitaries, the guests were comprised of fellow recipients – AOs, OAMs, and retired service men and women from the police force, ambulance, fire service and military – all connected by one common thread.
“We worked out we were all born in 1948, the same year as Governor De Jersey and Prince Charles,” Stubbs said.
The Prince delivered an impressive address covering terrorism, artificial intelligence and the environment before mingling with the crowd.
It was a once in a lifetime experience that Mr Stubbs will never forget.
“That kind of company is so far removed from what I’m used to,” he said.
“It was a bit overwhelming to be honest.”