Police and Emergency Service personnel honoured in Australia Day celebrations


Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher has congratulated 21 NSW Police and Emergency Service Personnel who have received awards today as part of the Australia Day Honours.

Nine Police Officers have been awarded the Australian Police Medal, three Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters and six Rural Fire Service members have been awarded the Australian Fire Services Medal, one of the highest honours for Australian firefighters.

Two members from the NSW State Emergency Service and one member of the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association have been awarded the Emergency Services Medal.

"These medals recognise the hard work and dedication these men and women show in performing their daily duties," Minister Gallacher said.

"These individuals, whether volunteers or paid officers, continue to demonstrate a level of commitment members of the community have come to expect from our emergency service personnel.

"These are the men and women who too often risk their own safety in order to perform one of the hardest jobs around, responding to all manner of emergencies, including flood, fire, road accidents and rescue operations," Minister Gallacher said.

"I want to express my gratitude on behalf of the people of NSW and indeed the Nation, for the vital and at times difficult work each member of our emergency services performs every day," Minister Gallacher concluded.

NSW RFS – Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM)

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton joined North Rocks Rural Fire Brigade in 1973 and is currently Deputy Group Captain of the Hills District.

He has worked extensively in Rural Fire Service Critical Response Incident Support and has represented the RFS at World Congress on Trauma and Coping in the United States in 2005.

Mr Walton is renowned for his ability to build trust and maintain confidentiality when supporting people during emotionally demanding times.

Jeffrey Bower
Jeffery Bower joined Rainbow Flat Rural Fire Brigade in November 1976 and is currently Senior Group Captain of Greater Taree Fire Control Centre.

Mr Bower has made a major contribution in training, particularly as a Crew Leader and RFS Driving. His integrity, passion commitment to the Service has been an inspiration to all who know him and especially those who have had the pleasure to work with him.

Russell Deaves

Russell Deaves joined the Wyee Rural Fire Brigade on 1 January 1960. He was appointed Group Captain in 1980 and is currently Deputy Captain of the Wyee Rural Fire Brigade.

He is the founding member of the Lake Macquarie Welfare Group and has earned the respect as a mediator and mentor to young members.

Mr Deaves received Captains Committee Award for leadership and outstanding service in 1986 and in 2007 was inaugural Volunteer of the Year for the Central Coast.

Paul Gleeson

Paul Gleeson Joined Cunjarong Rural Fire Brigade in 1988 and is currently the Group Captain at Shoalhaven.

He has participated as leader or participant in many out of area strike teams and task forces and is a major contributor to the strategic development and planning of training.

He assists in the organisation of the Shoalhaven Local Emergency Management Centre annual interagency training exercise.

Mr Gleeson's dedication and leadership have made him a valuable member of the fire fighting community in NSW.

Chris Powell

Chris Powell joined Leura Rural Fire Brigade in 1965 and is currently a member of Wamboin RFB and Group Captain at Palerang.

He is an active member of the Lake George Bush Fire Management Committee and in 2007 was instrumental in the formation of the Workers Compensation Working Group.

Geoffrey 'Boots' Towner

Geoff Towner joined Brooms Head Rural Fire Brigade in March 1979 and is currently Group Captain at Clarence Valley.

He is an active volunteer representative on the Senior Management Group and has a significant involvement in major out of area and interstate fire campaigns.

Mr Towner's leadership in the Brooms Head fires of 2001 & 2009 has been credited with minimising losses. He also had a leading role assisting in the Clarence flood operations in 2007 and 2009.

Contact Name: Tess Salmon (Minister's Office)

Contact Phone: 0467 740 017