Eight RFS members awarded Australian Fire Service Medal


Eight NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) members have been recognised for their hard work and dedication to the community as part of the 2023 Australia Day Honours List.

Image of AFSM recipients

The RFS recipients of the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) are:

›   Group Captain Bruce Angel, Tarcutta Rural Fire Brigade

›   Deputy Group Captain Jennifer Bamman, Surf Beach Rural Fire Brigade

›   Group Captain Peter Bulliman, Boara Rural Fire Brigade

›   Group Captain Warren Cree, Davidson Rural Fire Brigade

›   Deputy Commissioner Peter McKechnie, Narara Rural Fire Brigade

›   Group Captain Maurice McMillen, Eglinton Rural Fire Brigade

›   Captain Kym Stanford, Mungindi Rural Fire Brigade

›   Group Captain Craig Walters, Elong Elong and Wongarbon Rural Fire Brigades

Group Captain Bruce Angel, Riverina

Mr Bruce Angel joined the Tarcutta Rural Fire Brigade in 1968. He was elected Deputy Captain in 2001, a role he fulfilled until his election as Captain in 2003. He is a skilled firefighter, strike team leader, incident controller and Incident Management Team member. He is often a first responder to many motor vehicle accidents and incidents on the Hume Highway.

He demonstrates great leadership to his own Brigade and others in the Riverina Group 8, incorporating the brigades of Humula, Oberne Creek, Tarcutta and Umbango-Oberne. His 2012 election as Group Captain was a reflection of the respect for him in the Rural Fire Service (RFS) community. His fellow volunteers place their trust in him to represent his peers on the Senior Management Team and Service Level Agreement Committee and at Group Officer and Captains meetings.

He has attended numerous incidents during his 54 years of service and his wealth of local knowledge has been invaluable in protecting Tarcutta and the surrounding communities. His leadership as the incident controller when the Dunns Road fire started in January 2020 and his subsequent efforts as Divisional Commander are to be commended. The knowledge he provided on the ground and was able to relay to the Incident Management Team was instrumental in determining incident action plans.

A professional, dedicated and selfless volunteer for more than half a century, Mr Angel is a very worthy recipient for the Australian Fire Service Medal.

Deputy Group Captain Jennifer Bamman, Far South Coast

Mrs Jennifer Bamman joined the Surf Beach Rural Fire Brigade after a major fire impacted the area in January 1994. Consistently demonstrating exceptional leadership and achievement, she was awarded the Commissioner's Commendation for Service in 2001 in recognition of her commitment and involvement in District training and the development of junior brigades. She was awarded Life Membership in 2010.

She has held various operational and administrative roles since 1997, including Deputy Captain, Senior Deputy and Brigade Captain, and in 2013 became one of the first female Group Officers elected for the Far South Coast District and Region. She remains in this position, as well as fulfilling the roles of permit officer, Incident Management Team officer, Far South Coast Training Team and Senior Management Team member.

She has multiple qualifications across all facets of operational activities, willingly sharing her knowledge and experience with others. She has contributed to the Far South Coast Training Team as an instructor, course coordinator and assessor. One of the first female Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus (CABA) operators on the Far South Coast, she is committed to volunteer development and capability and is heavily involved in the provision of CABA and Advanced Structural Firefighting training for volunteers who travel to Mogo for training.

She has been instrumental in the development of junior brigade members, guiding these future Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers and preparing them for competition at the state level. With extensive Incident Management experience, she has led multiple Strike Teams to incidents across the state. During Bushfires 2019-20, she served as Divisional Commander for the devastating Currowan and Clyde Mountain fires for numerous days while her own family and friends were under threat.

Mrs Bamman dedication and professionalism have earned the respect of her fellow RFS members and make her a worthy recipient for the award of the Australian Fire Service Medal.

Group Captain Peter Bulliman, South West Slopes

Mr Peter BuIliman joined the Boara Brigade of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) in 1982 and has held positions of Deputy Captain, Senior Deputy Captain, Captain, Brigade Training Officer and Brigade President. For a number of years, he has operated as a volunteer at the Harden Fire Control Centre, providing a high level of customer service to members and the community.

As Group Captain for the South West Slopes Zone, he displays compassion and professionalism while representing volunteers within the Senior Management Team and Rural Fire Service Association Consultative Committee, encouraging growth in the organisation at all levels. His leadership has transformed Boara from a relatively inactive brigade into one relied upon for incident response and support, with diverse membership.

He has been a driving force in developing the capability of the South West Slopes Zone, which now has a solid core of volunteers capable of Remote Area Firefighting and two brigades with Breathing Apparatus capability. As a firm believer in sharing knowledge at all levels and an instructor for most training courses across the Zone, he maintains a level of course consistency, while also maintaining his knowledge of new advances and techniques.

He maintains his operational capability, responding to fires and other emergencies locally, as well as further afield. He is an integral part of the Zone Duty roster of personnel responsible for co-ordinating the response to emergencies and is developing his capability to act as a Duty Officer. Mr Bulliman's consistency, integrity and commitment to achieving the best outcomes and his high level of community service make him a worthy recipient of the Australian Fire Service Medal.

Group Captain Warren Cree, Northern Beaches

Mr Warren Cree has a longstanding personal and family commitment to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS), with his father, mother, brother, wife and children all involved as RFS volunteers and salaried officers.

He followed his father into the Davidson Brigade as soon as he was able at age 16 in 1986. By the age of 18, he was as an active, experienced member and elected Deputy Captain. He served in that capacity for 12 years, attending many fires and other incidents, leading training and engaging the community. He was elected as Senior Deputy Captain in 2000 and as Captain in 2002. Re-elected to that position for five terms until 2007, he was elected as a Deputy Group Captain and then Group Captain in 2020, a position he still holds.

He has earned the trust and gratitude of volunteers and staff in the Northern Beaches District and further afield through his operational, training, community engagement and administrative efforts. He has managed many local fires as Incident Controller, Operations Officer, and Logistics Leader and most recently on multiple deployments during Bushfires 2019-20. He also has been selected as a Strike Team Leader on interstate deployment to Western Australia.

He contributes countless hours to district brigade meetings, Cadets and District training initiatives. An advanced structure firefighting and breathing apparatus principal trainer, he is also particularly committed to volunteer welfare, helping many individuals through difficult times, including after the Black Summer fires. A member of the Northern Beaches District Advisory Committee, Senior Management Team, Bush Fire Management Committee and the Area Command Engagement Group, he promotes the New South Wales RFS at every opportunity and makes himself available for any member around the clock.

Mr Cree's commitment to the RFS, the Northern Beaches District, his fellow volunteers and the community is of the highest standard and makes him a worthy recipient of the Australian Fire Service Medal.

Deputy Commissioner Peter McKechnie, Central Coast

Deputy Commissioner Peter McKechnie joined Narara Rural Fire Brigade as a volunteer firefighter in 1994, moving through the ranks to become Deputy Captain and Captain, as well as Deputy Group Captain for the Gosford District.

With a passion for the development of operational capabilities, he mentored and trained brigade members, as well as leading local firefighting responses across the Central Coast and further afield. Becoming a salaried officer of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) in 2002, he has provided exemplary service and been instrumental in the organisation's strategic management, leadership and operations. He has held roles including Director Area Operations, Manager State Operations and Aviation and District Manager before his appointment as Deputy Commissioner, Field Operations in 2021.

He has been deployed to major fires and other emergencies in New South Wales, interstate and overseas as an Incident Controller, Major Incident Coordinator and State Operations Controller, leading Australian deployments to the United States of America and Canada to assist local firefighting authorities. He has also represented the service as part of international programs to support and inform fire services in Singapore, Indonesia and the United States of America. He has maintained his skills and qualifications and is able to be deployed operationally if required.

Throughout the devastating Bushfires 2019-20 (Black Summer), he regularly filled the role of State Operations Controller, responsible for co-ordinating firefighting operations, resources and emergency warnings across the state. He oversaw the response to an unprecedented 17 bush fires at an Emergency Warning level on 8 November 2019, a situation never before experienced in New South Wales. He was also deployed to fire grounds to support firefighters and incident management teams.

He has been responsible for overseeing the development of the RFS centralised dispatch system, modernising the way in which brigades are responded to emergencies. Deputy Commissioner McKechnie is a leader focused on the ability of members to safely deliver quality services to protect the community and a worthy recipient of the Australian Fire Service Medal.

Group Captain Maurice McMillen, Chifley/Lithgow

Mr Maurice McMillen has been a member of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) for 48 years, joining the Eglinton Brigade in 1974. Currently holding the elected position of Group Captain, his leadership ensures local brigades are ready to respond to emergencies.

For almost three decades, he has contributed to the after-hours emergency call out system, often dispatching fire and emergency service vehicles on weekends and late into the evening. His leadership has contributed to Eglinton Brigade's many successes, raising funds for the brigade's needs. His commitment to the brigade has seen him hold all field positions, and President. He was awarded Eglinton Brigade's first life membership in July 2022.

He has earned great respect from the brigades within his group and the wider membership base of the Chifley/Lithgow Zone. He can be relied upon to assist in emergencies, including leading strike teams to fires and storm emergencies in Sydney, Coonabarabran, Pilliga, Blue Mountains and Bombala. During 2019-2020, he was an Incident Management Team (IMT) operations officer and led strike teams to the Gospers Mountain fires.

During the 2013 State Mine fire, with all staff committed to the IMT, he and his wife Barbara kept the Chifley Fire Control Centre office open to support local volunteers, organising day/night shift strike teams, issuing equipment and keeping the members safe and organised. He received the Commissioners Certificate of Commendation in 2016 in recognition.  In 2021, he attended the North Coast Flood crisis as a strike team leader.

For 20 years, he has trained and mentored many members and passed on his knowledge and skills to members participating in the Zone Bi-annual Exercise. He was also Chairperson for Chifley Zone RFS Association (RFSA) for three terms, an alternate delegate for the RFSA State Council and member of the Chifley Senior Leadership Team and Zone Liaison Committee, and currently sits on the RFS/RFSA  joint consultative committee.

He continues to be a strong and decisive leader of Chifley/Lithgow volunteers and represents the New South Wales RFS with integrity and professionalism. Mr McMillen is a worthy recipient of the Australian Fire Service Medal.

Captain Kym Stanford, Namoi/Gwydir

Ms Kym Stanford's leadership potential was soon recognised when she joined the Mungindi Rural Fire Brigade in 1995. She was elected Senior Deputy Captain in 1999 and elected Captain two years later. The fact that she has remained in that role for more than 20 years is testament to the high regard in which she is held by her Brigade.

In 2022, she shared a Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner's Unit Citation for Service awarded to the Mungindi Brigade for its response to a large fire in the main street of Mungindi in September 2020 that destroyed the town's supermarket. She was instrumental in leading the RFS response and coordinating other emergency services from both New South Wales and Queensland, along with the community and business members who assisted.

In addition to her admirable long-term operational commitment, she has held the position of Brigade President since 2013, is a permit officer and as a trainer and assessor, has supported the establishment of new operational capabilities. She has led her Brigade to meet the changing needs of the New South Wales RFS and community, including qualifying as a Rescue Operator when the need arose for the Brigade to provide rescue capabilities for Mungindi and the surrounding area.

Her commitment to the New South Wales RFS and the community is consistently demonstrated through her effort, professionalism, leadership and selfless commitment to the values of the Service. Ms Stanford is an outstanding ambassador and worthy recipient for the Australian Fire Service Medal.

Group Captain Craig Walters, Orana

Mr Craig Walters joined the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) in February 1987 with the Elong Elong Brigade. He joined the Wongarbon Brigade as a dual member in 2015. He has held many positions including Secretary, Permit Officer and Training Officer, Deputy Captain, Senior Deputy Captain and Captain for six years. He has held the position of Group Captain since his election in 2016 and was also elected as the Chair of the Orana Team's Senior Management Committee.

A pro-active operational member, he has been deployed to major incidents locally, across New South Wales and interstate in locations such as Tasmania, the Blue Mountains and Northern Tablelands as a Brigade Captain, Strike Team Coordinator and Sector and Divisional Commander. Whenever available, he will assist in Incident Management Teams. He is committed to training, regularly serves as a course instructor and is a strong supporter of the area's inter-brigade Black Snake Competition.

He has been an advocate for the needs and interests of rural industries, landholders and communities, delivering seminars for new staff members undertaking the RFS Operational Officer Training program on the expectations of volunteers living in Western New South Wales and combating grassland fires. With an understanding from a farmer's perspective and experience as a Divisional Commander, he has also been involved in the development of the Farm Fire Unit project and was instrumental in delivering the Secondary School Cadet Program to schools in the Dubbo area in the program's initial phases. As a member of the Elong Elong Brigade, he assisted in the development of the Neighbourhood Safer Place.

He has served the New South Wales RFS in the Orana District with distinction for 35 years and embodies the finest attributes of Australian volunteerism. Mr Walters is a worthy recipient of the Australian Fire Services Medal.

Contact Name: State Duty Media Officer

Contact Phone: (02) 9898 1855