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Byron Shire
August 12, 2022

Commitment awards given to local firefighters

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Robert (Bob) Graham, accepts his National Medal second clasp, which recognises his 45 years of dedicated service, with Assistant Commissioner, Matthew Smith, and Ballina Mayor, Sharon Cadwallader. Bob joined the Main Arm Fire Brigade in 1977, and is currently Deputy and Group Captain. Photo supplied.

Recognising the commitment, risk and efforts put in by local volunteers during the unprecedented 2019–20 Black Summer bushfires, 164 local Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers from the Far North Coast District were recently recognised. 

‘These awards recognise members who go above and beyond what is expected in active service,’ said Superintendent David Cook, Far North Coast District Manager. 

Ceremonies took place at Ballina RSL and Twin Towns, with awards presented by Assistant Commissioner, Matthew Smith, who told the gathering that it recognised, ‘the commitment you have shown over the past decades and through some of the worst disasters we have seen’.

‘The 2020 fires were like nothing northern NSW had ever seen before.’ 

Need for resources

Ballina MP Tamara Smith said, ‘You risked your lives in the Black Summer bushfires, and more recently in the floods, and I am calling for more resources, equipment and technology so that you have all the support you need to do your jobs.’ 

Recognising the support members’ families provide to ensure they can be active on the ground, Tweed MP Geoff Provest spoke about his own experiences of his son being an active member and of the RFS, as well as the important role the RFS play across a range of emergencies. 

‘It came home during the recent floods, when I would see one of the local trucks [out of their own area] helping people, hosing out people’s houses. The RFS are very important to our local community, you go out and help the wider community.’

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Nimblefoot launches tonight in Byron 

Acclaimed Bangalow author Robert Drewe, who will be featuring at Byron Writers Festival, is having his latest book Nimblefoot launched by Kerry O’Brien at The Book Room at Byron at 6pm tonight.