Volunteer firefighter receives highest Service accolade


A man who helped save the lives of up to 45 people during the 2011 Queensland floods was today presented the NSW Rural Fire Service's (NSW RFS) Award for Valour.


NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons presented Kendall Thompson, a volunteer firefighter based in Tamworth, with his medal along with 18 other award recipients at the annual St Florian's Day Ceremony.

"St Florian is the Patron Saint of firefighters, and today we are recognising the ongoing contribution of the men and women who selflessly put themselves in danger for the protection of others.

"Mr Thompson, like all of the recipients today, has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to both the Service and the community. The skill, professionalism and bravery he displayed whilst deployed as a Down the Wire Crewman during the floods was nothing short of extraordinary," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

"Mr Thompson was working out of a helicopter on the end of a winch, and even in the most treacherous of conditions he continued pull people to safety. For this tremendous courage Mr Thompson is being awarded the Service's highest honour – a medal that has only been presented three times since its introduction in 1999".

During the ceremony held at NSW RFS Headquarters in Sydney, Commissioner Fitzsimmons paid tribute to the versatility of NSW RFS members.

"Whilst the NSW RFS has a history in mitigating and fighting bush fires, as the recipients of these awards clearly demonstrate, our members are faced with all manner of emergencies on a daily basis.

"Some of today's awards are in recognition for extreme bravery whist assisting at some of the most serious and tragic motor vehicle accidents," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

"This level of dedication to the community cannot be underestimated and the people of New South Wales should be most proud of the efforts of their RFS volunteers.

"I would personally like to thank all of today's recipients for their staunch dedication to both the Service and to the community".


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