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  • Writer's pictureThe Hon. Paul Toole MP


Forty-seven National Emergency Medals and four RFS Long Service Medals were presented over the weekend at the Chifley/Lithgow Medal Presentation to well deserving Rural Fire Service volunteers for their dedication to keeping our communities safe.

The National Emergency Medal is reserved only for those who rendered sustained or significant service during nationally significant emergencies in Australia. The recent medal ceremony recognised the outstanding work completed by the RFS in the devastating 2019/2020 fire season.

Teams of volunteers from the Chifley/Lithgow District which comprises of 54 brigades protected the Bathurst electorate and other parts of the state from the fires of 2019/2020 with some volunteers away for months at a time and others sadly losing their own homes whilst out protecting someone else’s.

The long service acknowledgements accumulated to over 80 years of service between four volunteers. Captain Michelle Swaan received an RFS Long Service Medal for 14 years of service as well as Renae Barron for 12 years of service, both from the Black Springs brigade. Colin Roberts from Mayfield Brigade was recognised for 27 years of service and Paul Dwyer from Gingkin Brigade for 28 years.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole attended the ceremony to present the medals and congratulate the volunteers.

“It is very rare and special to have such dedicated professionals who frequently give up their own time and livelihoods to help others in times of emergency. You should all be very proud as should your families and communities,” said Mr Toole.

“The 2019/2020 summer was a harrowing fire season and you really rose to the challenge of facing unprecedented fires that tore through the state. We in the community are so grateful that we could call on you and your courage to battle blazes and protect us.”

All recipients are to be commended on their dedication, commitment, and service to the local community. A list of National Emergency Medals recipients follows:

Black Springs Brigade

- Captain Michelle Swaan

- Renae Barron

- Ceanne Barron

- Shane Barron

- Lois Gibbons

- Edward Gibbons

Burraga Brigade

- Deputy Group Captain and Brigade Captain Anthony Francis

- Shane Bennett

- Jason Booth

- Leon Booth

- Phillip Burke

- Christopher Francis

- Cody Francis

- Group Officer Neil Francis

- Terrence Francis

- Ross McDonald

- Rodney Parkes

- Ron Pearce

- David Smith

- Ken Stapleton

- Bronwyn Whalan

- Peter Whalan

- Tony Press (accepted by Tony’s widow and son)

Gingkin Brigade

- Paul Dwyer

Gurnang/Porters Retreat Brigade

- Andrew Sterling

Jenolan Caves Brigade

- Captain Charles Degotardi

- Aaron Behan

- Lochlan Dwyer

- Jacob Hartley

- Frank Kocsis

- Robert Letkiewicz

- Group Officer Barry Richards

- Michael Collins

- Gregory Behan

Jerrong/Paling Yards Brigade

- Deputy Group Captain and Brigade Captain Alan Maloney

- Andrew Maloney

Mayfield Brigade

- Colin Roberts

Oberon Headquarters

- Deputy Group Captain and Brigade Captain Lance Sulley

- Morgan Cody

- Wayne Hepburn

- Michael James

- Aaron Kirby

- Baily Nielsen

- David Nielsen

- Grant Pearce

- Connor Riddis

- Abraham Rowe

- Zoe Rowe


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