Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott and NSW RFS Commissioner Rog Rogers today honoured four brave individual members and five units as part of the annual St Florian’s Day awards for exceptional service and bravery.
Usually held on the fourth of May each year, the award ceremony coincides with the Feast Day of St Florian, Patron Saint of Firefighters and International Firefighters’ Day.
Mr Elliott said that while members could not gather together to acknowledge the worthy recipients in person due to current COVID-19 restrictions, a formal ceremony would be held at a later date.
“The threat of COVID-19 may keep us from gathering together but today is still a day to acknowledge the indefatigable hard work and professionalism of our 75,000 RFS volunteers,” Mr Elliott said.
“First responders, including our volunteer firefighters, are the bedrock of the community. The men and women of the RFS put their lives on the line without asking for praise or accolades, but after the year they’ve had, I can’t think of anyone more deserving.”
Mr Rogers paid special tribute to Captain William (Jock) Ross and Senior Deputy Captain Alison Wade, who were awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery.
Captain Ross and Senior Deputy Captain Wade responded to a house fire in the small township of Spencer on the Central Coast in early April last year. With the resident still inside the home and back up still responding, the firefighters forced their way into the building.
Crouching below the thick smoke, Captain Ross and Senior Deputy Captain Wade were able to locate the resident and his dog and lead them both outside to safety.
The Goodooga Rural Fire Brigade, who were called to a tragic motor vehicle accident last year where they worked with a local nurse to provide first aid to an impaled driver who died at the scene, have also been recognised with a Commissioner’s Certificate of Commendation.
“The past twelve months have been an incredibly difficult and testing time for many of our members, working through drought, the fire season, and now the COVID-19 outbreak,” Mr Rogers said.
“It’s important that we stop to recognise the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices our volunteers make each and every day to serve their communities.”
NSW RFS Internal Bravery and Service Awards 2020:
Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery (Individual):
· Captain William Ross, Spencer Brigade, Central Coast, Area Hunter
· Senior Deputy Captain Alison Wade, Spencer Brigade, Central Coast, Area Hunter
Commissioner’s Commendation of Service (Individual):
· Captain Gregory Speed OAM, Orchard Hills, Cumberland Zone, Area Greater Sydney
· Retired Group Captain Warwick Teasdale, Killcare/Wagstaff, Central Coast, Area Hunter
Commissioner’s Certificate of Commendation (Unit):
· Captain William Pokarier, Deputy Captain Thomas Stanton and Firefighter Stephen Forrester, Goodooga, Far West Team, Area Western
· Crescent Head Brigade, Lower North Coast Zone, Area North Eastern
· Far North Coast Senior Management Team, Area North Eastern
· Southern Tablelands Zone Strike Team Echo 1, Area South Eastern
· South West Slopes Zone Senior Management Team, Area Western