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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Local firefighters honoured on St Florian’s Day

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The recipients of a Commissioner’s Certificate of Commendation (unit), members of the Far North Coast Senior Management Team, Area North Eastern, Superintendent David Cook (District Manager), Group Officer Michael Cooper, Group Officer Kenneth (Mark) Eglington, Group Officer Robert Graham, Inspector Matthew Inwood, Group Captain Franco Zambelli, Inspector Angela Daly, Deputy Group Captain Raymond Collyer.

After this season’s fire catastrophe, we can’t help but know that all firefighters are heroes, but on the fourth of May each year, the annual Firefighter’s Awards are given to outstanding firefighters to coincide with the Feast Day of St Florian, Patron Saint of Firefighters and International Firefighters’ Day.

Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott and NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Commissioner Rob Rogers today honoured four individual members and five units, including the Far North Coast Senior Management Team, as part the annual awards for exceptional service and bravery.

This year, while members could not gather to acknowledge the worthy recipients in person, Commissioner Rogers has written to each member with a formal ceremony to be held at a later date.

Opportunity to thank our NSW RFS volunteers

Minister Elliott said that today we take this opportunity to thank our NSW RFS volunteers for their ongoing hard work and professionalism especially after such an incredibly difficult fire season.

‘We pay tribute to those brave members whose dedication continues to protect lives and property of this great state,’ said Minister Elliott.

Commissioner Rogers paid special tribute to Captain William (Jock) Ross and Senior Deputy Captain (SDC) Alison Wade, who were awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery.

Captain Ross and SDC 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 SDC Wade were able to locate the resident and his pet dog and lead them both outside to safety.

Commissioner Rogers also recognised the commitment of members of the Goodooga Rural Fire Brigade, receiving the Commissioner’s Certificate of Commendation (Unit). Captain William Pokarier, Deputy Captain Thomas Stanton and firefighter Stephen Forrester were called to a motor vehicle accident on the Goodooga – Brewarrina Rd approximately one hour north of Lightning Ridge in the early hours of 5 August 2019.

On arrival the crew found the driver impaled within the vehicle. The members worked with a local nurse to provide first aid to the patient, who was known to them, while waiting for Ambulance and rescue services to arrive.

Despite the best efforts of the crew, the driver died at the scene shortly before 4am.

‘The past twelve months has been an incredibly difficult and testing time for many of our members. Working through drought, the fire season and the now the COVID outbreak,’ said Commissioner Rogers.

‘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 for 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

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