Long serving RFS volunteers recognised at medal ceremony

NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and assistant commissioner Peter McKechnie presented Tilpa RFS brigade member Tom Russell with Life Membership of the brigade, as well as a medal recognising his 72 years of service in a special ceremony in Cobar on Saturday where a total of 57 medals and clasps were presented. ▪ Photo contributed

NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) volunteers from across the Far West Team have been honoured for their longstanding commitment to the local community.

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons presented 57 Long Service Medals and clasps as well as two Life Memberships to volunteers at a ceremony on Saturday in Cobar in recognition of their service and dedication.

“In total, this represents 2,042 years of combined service across the Far West Team,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“The dedication of all the volunteers being recognised today is truly inspiring.

“Ten of today’s recipients have dedicated more than 50 years of their lives to the NSW RFS, with five of these members serving over 60 years.

“I would like to make particular mention of Max Russell, who has received not only the Long Service Medal 6th Clasp in recognition of his exemplary 72 years of service, but also Life Membership of the Tilpa Brigade.

“Max joined the Tilpa Brigade in 1948 and continues to be a valued and dedicated member of the Brigade, seeing significant changes over his time in the Service.”

Commissioner Fitzsimmons also acknowledged both Bill Lander and Richard Roberts for their 65 years of commendable service each to the community.

“All of these volunteers are worthy of our most sincere thanks and I would like to personally commend them, not only for their commitment to the Service, but also to their community,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“The hard work and professionalism of all Far West Team volunteers does not go unnoticed and this occasion is a great opportunity for the broader community to express their gratitude,” he said.

The commissioner also acknowledged the  families, friends and colleagues who supported the volunteers.

“It is an absolute honour to present these awards and to take a moment in which we can reflect upon the outstanding achievements of these members.”

Following the medal presentations on Saturday at the Cobar Fire Control Centre, local brigade members were invited to stay around for a barbecue and chat about preparations for the upcoming bush fire period.