Monto’s Aus­tralian Fire Ser­vice Medal re­cip­i­ent rubs shoul­ders with roy­alty

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

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.”

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