Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher has congratulated 22 Police and Emergency Service personnel who are receiving awards as part of Australia Day celebrations.
Nine Police Officers have been awarded the Australian Police Medal, three Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters and seven NSW Rural Fire Service members have received the Australian Fire Services Medal.
Two members from the NSW State Emergency Service and one member of the Volunteer Rescue Association have been awarded the Emergency Services Medal.
“These men and women are dedicated to ensuring our community stays safe,” Minister Gallacher said.
“We have seen time and again-be it floods, storms, wild fires or structural fires – these men and women put on their uniform and get on with the job.
“Their professionalism, selflessness and skill see them respond to some of the most terrifying situations including road accidents, floods, fires and rescue operations.
“I want to express my gratitude on behalf of the people of NSW for the incredibly important work each member of our emergency services performs every day,” Minister Gallacher said.
Acting Commissioner Nick Kaldas praised the officers for their dedication.
“I’m extremely proud that they have been nominated by their peers, their commanders or members of the public.
“They are true leaders in their field as well as being gracious and generous mentors to their colleagues,” Acting Commissioner Kaldas said.
Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins congratulated Chief Superintendent Greg Buckley, Assistant Director Built Environment & Research; Captain David ‘Spike’ Milliken, Thredbo Fire Station; and Station Officer Wayne Staples, Mid North Coast Senior Instructor, who all received the Australian Fire Service Medal in this year's Australia Day Honours.
"All three of these award recipients have had long and distinguished careers serving the community through FRNSW, with a total of 87 years of service between them," Commissioner Mullins said.
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said that the NSW RFS AFSM recipients had more than 200 years of service and experience between them.
“These long-serving members have dedicated much of their lives to helping to protect the community. They have worked tirelessly to help to fight fires, prepare the community every bush fire season and ensure a new generation of volunteers were trained, mentored and encouraged. They represent the very best of the RFS and I’m proud their service has been formally recognised with this national honour,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
SES Commissioner Murray Kear congratulated the dedicated members and staff on their awards. “Day in, day out, they’re ready to assist when called upon and while they don’t do it for awards or accolades, they thoroughly deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication.
“The community can be rightly proud of their hard work, commitment and professionalism,” Commissioner Kear said.
The SES is also celebrating member David Lane who is the recipient of an Order of Australia Medal. Mr Lane joined the NSW SES in 1987 and has been an extremely active member of the Lightening Ridge Unit for close to 24 years. He goes above and beyond his duties and has been described as “a true Australian hero – a great man, a great leader and a great Australian”.
He goes about his business without seeking recognition and there are many people who have been helped by David’s generosity without being aware of where or who the help has come from.
“I am extremely proud of Mr Lane,” Commissioner Kear concluded.
NSW RFS Recipients of the Australian Fire Service Medal
Group Captain Lindsay Ronald Henley
Group Captain Henley joined the NSW Rural Fire Service as a member of the Ungarie-Bland brigade in 1970.
His commitment to his community and the service he provides is outstanding. He is always focussed on helping his community in times of need, whether it be during a fire, storm or flood.
Group Captain Henley leads by example and is one of the first to take a leadership role and accept the responsibility of his decisions. He regularly undertakes roles and responsibilities as a member of the incident management team, divisional commander and strike team leader and has always been praised for the way he represents the service and the care he provide for the volunteers under his command.
The resilience and empathy Group Captain Henley displays is a credit to the man who puts the interests of others before himself.
Group Captain Barrie John Hewitt
Group Captain Hewitt joined the NSW RFS as a member of the Arcadia Brigade in 1966. He was awarded life membership in 1993. In 2001 he transferred to the Bogee brigade and was elected to the position of Group Captain in 2006.
Mr Hewitt has shown outstanding leadership in the encouragement and development of volunteer members and actively supports and participates in training and exercises as well as being a mentor to volunteers and staff alike.
Group Captain Hewitt has played an integral part in bringing together 1,200 volunteers since the amalgamation of the Mudgee and Rylstone Councils in 2004.
He is highly respected as a fire tactician and his ability to read fire and terrain. Mr Hewitt has a selfless attitude to the RFS, often forgoing his own pursuits to undertake service activities and is highly respected by volunteers and staff within the district.
Captain Tom Nolles
Captain Nolles joined the RDS as a member of the Mullion Creek Brigade in 1975 and served there until he left the district in 1984. He returned in 1996, joining the Northwest Orange Brigade. He was elected captain of the Canobolas Zone Support Brigade in 2009.
In addition to firefighting, Mr Nolles is a member of the training committee. He also provides support to the cadet secondary school program as an instructor and cadet coordinator.
Captain Nolles is held in high regard throughout the Zone and is often called upon to be a member of various committees. He is committed to representing the members of the RDS through the Rural Fire Service Association and spends many hours fulfilling these roles.
He is highly regarded by his peers as a man of integrity and honesty and is a champion of the volunteers and their causes.
Superintendent Ian Charles Stewart
Superintendent Stewart has served in the NSW RFS for over 35 years, working in various roles in a number of District positions across the state including Bega, Cooma Monaro, Eurobodalla, Tamworth, Great Lakes and Shoalhaven.
His detailed knowledge of emergency arrangements in NSW and understanding of the RFS has been recognised by his active participation on policy formation at a state level.
Superintendent Stewart is recognised widely for his incident management skills and has been appointed incident controller at major fires across the state. He also mentors many members of the RFS and other agencies involved in incident management at major fires.
In 2008 he was awarded a commendation for excellence in emergency operations by the Fire Services Joint Standing Committee for demonstrating the strong commitment to developing collaborative partnerships with emergency services.
Group Captain Errol James Smith
Group Captain Smith joined the NSW RFS as a member of the Bulga Brigade in 1956. He served in various appointments until he was elected Captain in 1984 and Group Captain in 1989. He was awarded life membership in 2004.
Mr Smith has attended countless incidents during his years of service and was involved with all major fires from the late 60’s until 2009. He has also led many out of area deployments including the response to the Sydney Hailstorm in 1999 and the fires in Canberra in 2003 and Victoria in 2009.
He manages the brigades within his group diligently and he is actively involved with the group’s skills. He is also an active member of the senior management team and represents the interests of volunteers with great passion.
Group Captain Smith is an extremely skilled firefighter and fire manager; he is a great source of information and insight for many firefighters.
He has devoted the past 56 years to the RFS and is a respected and valued member and leader.
Group Captain James Patrick (Pat) Smith
Group Captain Smith joined the NSW RFS as a member of the Bidgeemia Bush Fire Brigade in 1968 and was quickly elected to the position of Captain, a position he held for 27 years, before being appointed Group Captain in 1996.
Mr Smith’s has demonstrated leadership at all levels of activities of the RFS and has managed the full range of incidents that have involved the service over the past 27 years, including more recently, the Victorian Bushfires in 2009 and the flood recovery at Urana in 2012. At every incident his duties have been conducted at the highest levels of safety, ensuring effective outcomes for the firefighters under his command and the community affected.
Deputy Group Captain Barry Tindall
Deputy Group Captain Tindall joined the NSW RFS in March 1973 as a member of the Box Hill Brigade. In 2001 he relocated to the Port Stephens area joining the Salt Ash Brigade and later the Tanilba Bay Brigade before being elected to the position of Deputy Group Captain in 2009.
Mr Tindall is a very active member of the RFS and has held most positions, both operational and support within his Brigades. In addition to his operational duties as a firefighter, he has recently trained as a fire investigator and is now active in that role, investigating both wild fires and structural fires.
Deputy Group Captain Tindall is regularly out amongst the community providing fire safety, awareness and education advice. He has been instrumental in the establishment of the Community Education program in the Zone and can take credit for its ongoing success.
He is first to put his hand up to either lead teams or just participate. He rarely misses a call, regardless of time, size or type of incident.