Queens Birthday AFSMs


Congratulations to the NSW RFS recipients of the Australian Fire Service Medal, announced on the Queens Birthday 2015.

Group Captain Edgar Patrick Charles Bradley, New England Zone (Region North)

Pat Bradley Group Captain Pat Bradley joined the Hillgrove Brigade on 13 July 1998 where he was an active, dedicated firefighter who was well respected in the Brigade and broader community.  In June 2003, Pat joined the Armidale Headquarters (later Dumaresq) Brigade as a Deputy Captain, training officer and permit issuing officer.  In July 2006, Pat was elected a Group Captain, within the New England Zone, a position in which he remains.

Pat's passion and natural leadership qualities have seen him progress through the field officer ranks during his time in the Rural Fire Service.  As a firefighter, field officer and group officer Pat is exceptionally highly regarded for his strong work ethic, his commitment to the NSW RFS, sound decision making on the fire ground and his dedication, particularly notable in the training area and as a leader at fires.

Within the New England Training Team Pat has coordinated training of all of the main stream fire fighting courses.  His passion is advanced fire fighter and crew leader training.  With an engineering background Pat has taught hundreds of fire fighters how to effectively and efficiently use pumps and hoses.  His infectious enthusiasm and thorough subject knowledge has helped motivate trainees for over a decade. 

As a mentor Pat has mentored many of the field officers within the zone to gain the knowledge and skills they need to command and take control of a wide variety of incidents.  At a Region level Pat has assisted other zones to deliver training and through his passion and commitment has raised standards wherever he goes.  For the last two years Pat has delivered the Group Leader training as part of a small team.  His experience has value added the training delivered to senior volunteer fire fighters (and staff) throughout Region North.

Pat's dedication is further demonstrated by his long commitment (almost every year) to running a scenario at the well regarded Region North Exercise.  Another example is Pat's commitment to deliver training as part of the NSW RFS International Relations Project in Botswana.  Pat's 'can do' attitude and commitment to excellence in delivery, backed by his comprehensive knowledge of fire ground leadership and management have placed Pat, the training team and the NSW RFS in good standing.

Training is only one portion of Pat's distinguished service to the NSW RFS; as a Group Captain and brigade member Pat attends a large number of incidents every year.  His skills at structure fires and at motor vehicle accidents are highly regarded by his peers.  During bush fires Pat regularly commits his time to bring them under control and restore normality.  He has controlled small and large incidents and is often found mentoring less experienced leaders.  Pat regularly attends out of area fires.  If not at the fireground Pat is usually in the incident management team contributing his local knowledge in either the operations of control streams.  Pat Bradley is a distinguished member of the NSW RFS and is a worthy recipient of the AFSM.

Group Captain Trevor Fletcher, Eurobodalla (Far South Coast, Region South)

Trevor Fletcher Trevor Joined the Batemans Bay Bush Fire Brigade in 1974.  Elected Captain in 1982 Trevor maintained the Captaincy until 1983 when he joined the newly formed Surf Beach brigade serving as the inaugural Captain from 1983 to 1986.  Trevor stood down as Captain and was elected Senior Deputy Captain of Surf Beach RFB, holding his position until 1993 until elected as Eurobodalla Deputy Group Officer North holding this position until 2013 when Trevor's peers elected him to the Group Officer North position which he holds to date.

Trevor's Distinguished Service is best demonstrated by his constant and significant to the overall management and promotion of the NSW RFS within the Eurobodalla District and across the State.  Trevor is the Chair of the Eurobodalla Bush Fire Management Committee and has been the Volunteer Representative on this committee for over 12 years.  Trevor has held the role of Representative and Chairperson of the Eurobodalla Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) since 1997, is an inaugural member of the RFSA Division Six as well as a member of the RFSA State Council since 1997.  Trevor and his wife Margaret have been regular workers at the RFSA members family welfare days which involves extensive travel to distant parts of the State; these events are planned to key player and volunteer spokesperson for the future development of the Eurobodalla Training Committee and a headway to becoming a centre of excellence as a training resource for all fire fighting and emergency service personnel in the Eurobodalla Shire and statewide.

Trevor has attended copious incidents locally, Statewide and interstate.  His leadership and incident management capabilities are second to none.  If Trevor is not leading a team on the fire line or a motor vehicle accident, he is in the Emergency Operations Centre assisting the Incident Management Team; his local knowledge of the Eurobodalla area and it terrain is an invaluable asset during major incidents.

Trevor regularly attends and supervises motor vehicle accidents, often fatalities, on the perilous stretch of the Kings Highway between Braidwood and Batemans Bay.  Trevor is well aware of the hazards experienced by emergency service personnel on this stretch of road and campaigns for and promotes the work, health and safety of volunteers at these incidents.

Former Commissioner Koperberg presented Trevor with the National Medal in 1991, National Medal 1st clasp in 2000 and the Commissioners Certificate of Commendation in 2005.  In 2008 Commissioner Fitzsimmons presented Trevor with his National Medal Affectionately known to his RFS family as "Papa Smurf" Trevor has been the 'Essence' of the NSW Rural Fire Service within the Eurobodalla.  Trevor has mentored, trained, guided, consoled and supported many volunteers and staff over his 40 years of Service, he has built and nurtured valuable relationships and networks within the Eurobodalla community emergency services sector.  Trevor is to be commended for his exemplary Service, his loyalty and commitment to the NSW Rural Fire Service, Eurobodalla volunteers and the Eurobodalla community.

Firefighter Franklin John Matters, Colo Vale (Southern Highlands Team, Region East)

John Matters has been a volunteer member of the NSW Rural Fire Service since 1950.  John has been the driving force behind so many improvements to the training and safety of his fellow volunteers not only within the brigade, but at District and State levels.

John's distinguished service started in 1950 when he joined Hill Top Bush Fire Brigade.  There have been many examples of John's commitment to service to his local community and to the NSW RFS.  Just one example is John's involvement is the construction costs and assisted in the construction works.  During John's 55 year membership with the Hill Top brigade John held a number of positions rising to the rank of Deputy Captain.  During the 2001 Black Christmas fires John's leadership came to the fore.  The village of Hill Top came under direct and serve threat for a number of days.  John's skills and tireless work during this time is legendary within the district.  John worked closely with the Divisional Commander and Group Captains with the implementation of back burning operations right around the township and in particular around the Darlington Drive and Rocky Waterholes Road areas where his leadership and local knowledge and skills enabled the local crews and Victorian Strike Teams to preserve all of the properties when they came under direct attack from the fast running crown fire.  In 2005 John transferred to his current brigade at Colo Vale and was appointed a Deputy Captain.  In recognition of his service to both Hill Top and Colo Vale Communities John was awarded his Life Membership with the NSW Rural Fire Service.

During the 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 fires seasons John was appointed Deputy Group Captain.  It was during these fire seasons that John continued to demonstrate his leadership and dedication to protect communities across NSW and interstate.  John has lead Coonabarabran, and the Black Saturday fires in Victoria.  On every deployment John's commitment to his crew and the ease of leadership has resulted in local FCO's and Group Officers praising the crews from Wingecarribee for their professionalism and willingness to complete their tasks.  As I write this John is currently deployed to South Australia.

John has always had an intense interest and influence in the training of young and young at heart firefighters.  John continues to be actively involved in training at both brigade and district levels.  John was presented the inaugural "Les Lambert Award for Dedication to his Fellow Firefighters" award in 1999.  John is a qualified mechanic having worked with a local tractor dealer for some 30 years and it was because of John's mechanical skills he was appointed as a Volunteer Representative to the NSW RFS Technical Services Division for a number of years advising in the design and construction of the equipment we now use on the fire line.

John as always been the quiet achiever... never wanting to be out in there in the spot light.  I know John would never had thought that he maybe one day nominated for such an award as the AFSM.  If I know John, his response will be "shouldn't someone else be receiving this award?"  John is one of our true Christian Gentleman... a true Australian that we all can be proud of and aspire too, a man we are all very proud of in the Wingecarribee District.

Deputy Captain Elaine Robinson, Cooks Gap (Cudgegong, Region West)

Elaine Robinson Elaine has contributed enormously to the Brigade and District in the areas of operations, training, management and support.  Her dedication is second to none.

Some of the activities that Elaine has performed to assist this Brigade, District and the NSW RFS are as follows;

  1. Being the first female Group Leader in this district.
  2. Provide time and expertise to District first aid training.
  3. Provide time and expertise to District Bush Firefighter training.
  4. Provides time and expertise to brigade catering for both fund raising and ground support.
  5. Provide time, expertise, guidance and initiative and helped to start up the juniors.
  6. Stands for positions in the brigade to assist with its operation and daily running.  Positions like Treasurer, catering, Deputy Captain, training, Secretary, first aid and WHS.

The tasks that Elaine performs happen daily. At the moment she is mentoring a member in crew leader activities, as well as looking after the support section which feeds us on the fire ground and raises funding for the brigade, she is a Deputy Captain with many years experience and can be relied upon to look after vehicles, personnel and fire sector without a second thought from the incident controller.

Elaine also works well in keeping brigade personnel morale at a high level with social gatherings and works as an Elf during the Christmas time helping Santa distribute Santa bags to the local children.

Elaine is also the brigade treasurer at this moment in time.  She is a steadfast member of the fire fighting team demonstrates great stamina, skill and leads her teams with dexterity, skill, forward thinking with an eye on the end goal.

Her commitment to this Brigade the District and the NSW RFS demonstrates great commitment to the organisation and brings credit to this organisation at all levels.

Group Captain Brian Francis Ryan, Cootamundra (South West Slopes, Region West)

Brian Ryan Brian Ryan has been a member of the NSW Rural Fire Service since joining the Frampton Brigade in 1970 at age 14.  Brian held the position of Frampton Brigade Captain for ten years before being elected to the position of Group Captain in the Cootamundra Shire in 1997, a position he has held for the past 18 years.

Brian has exhibited outstanding leadership qualities in his role at Group Captain always leading by example and providing sound operational advice to members.  He was a Divisional Commander during several major incidents including the Brawlin Springs, Jindalee Straight, Wallendbeen and Junee Fires.

Brian's calm and decisive fire ground leadership is highly respected by his peers.  His ability to quickly analyse a situation, develop situational awareness, and direct sound operations continues to provide fire fighters with the confidence required to minimise the impact of fires.

Brian's commitment to the NSW RFS is evident from his influential role in assisting to bring the Cootamundra Local Government volunteer group together to join the Boorowa, Harden and Young Shires forming the South West Slopes Zone.

Passionate about fire fighting effectiveness and safety, Brian has played a pivotal role in assisting to modernise the tanker fleet within the Cootamundra area and South West Slopes Zone.  Brian has worked closely with both Council and the NSW RFS over many years to help build the modern fleet the South West Slopes Zone had today.

Brian's understanding of fire history around Cootamundra has resulted in him leading crews to undertake regular strategic hazard reduction burning on both private and government managed lands.

Group Officer Ryan's leadership, dedication, commitment, devotion, over many years, coupled with his humility and modest approach, makes him deserving of the Australian Fire Service Medal.

Firefighter Rudy Schuett, Coffs Harbour (Mid North Coast, Region North)

Rudy Schuett Rudy joined the NSW Rural Fire Service as a volunteer member of the Moonee Rural Fire Brigade on the 10th of August 1995 and has served with dedication and distinction during the course of his 20 years of service.  He is a passionate and dedicated brigade member of a highly active brigade, and has been the voluntary Operational Support Officer for the last 10 years providing a vital service to all the brigades and volunteers across the Mid North Coast Team.

As a fire fighter, Rudy has been involved in a majority of significant bush fire campaigns that have affected NSW, the ACT and Victoria.  He has also attended hundreds of incidents across the area and provides calm and effective leadership on the fire ground.  One of Rudy's greatest attributes is his ability to encourage and maintain strong teamwork across a range of members with differing background and values, and the team has often looked to Rudy to provide stability within the brigades in the Team.

Rudy has been the Mid North Coast volunteer Operations Support Officer for over 10 years, and spends many hours working at the Fire Control Office on fleet and equipment.  It is not unusual for Rudy to start at 4am and still be working well after dark.  He travels to Sydney to pick up new tankers, transports crews to out-of-area fires in the Team bus, and picks up and returns tankers so they can be services maintained and repaired.  He also assists with vehicle recovery, conducts a majority of driver training for candidates to obtain their Medium Rigid licenses, and often spends a countless amount of time on weekends and after hours taking the trainees for practise and then their licence tests.  In fact, the RMS driving assessors have a very high regard for Rudy and it is well known that NSW RFS trainees, under Rudy's mentoring, have been very well-prepared for their assessment.  Rudy also conducts routine equipment maintenance and maintains the PPE and Equipment stores to a very high standard.

Rudy's vast knowledge of the local area and his leadership skills have significantly contributed to the success of the NSW Rural Fire Service in the area.  No job is too large of complicated for Rudy and he works with dedication and enthusiasm.  Combined with his easy-going nature and wonderful sense of humour, Rudy is a highly respected volunteer and a more than worthy candidate of the Australian Fire Service Medal.