The NSW Rural Fire Service’s Far West Team held a farewell dinner last Wednesday for Superintendent Chris Favelle and Inspector Robyn Favelle with over 125 guests in attendance.
Among those who attended the evening were Commissioner of the NSW RFS, Shane Fitzsimmons; Region West Manager, Paul Smith; the general managers, senior staff members and councillors from both Cobar and Bourke Shire Councils; RFS staff from Broken Hill and volunteers from as far afield as Euabalong, Silverton, Yantabulla and White Cliffs.
“Far West covers 25 million hectares and their leadership has been extraordinary, a huge turnout being reflective of the appreciation and admiration for all they’ve done for the members and people of the Far West”, Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
Both Chris and Robyn’s lives have always been full of the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) with both of their fathers being a part of the team and receiving Australian Fire Service Medals.
As teenagers Chris was a member of the Kentlyn Brigade near Campbelltown and Robyn was a member of the Sandy Creek Brigade, west of Cobar.
They both joined the RFS as staff in early 1997, where Chris worked as the Deputy Fire Control Officer at Wentworth-Balranald and Robyn was the Administration Officer in Cobar.
In 2000, Chris was appointed Fire Control Officer (FCO) in Cobar and then in 2003 he was appointed to FCO/Manager of the Central Darling as well as the Unincorporated Area of NSW.
When Bourke and Brewarrina Shire joined the NSW RFS in 2008 it became the largest RFS in the state, an area larger than Victoria.
During this time Robyn was promoted to Community Safety Officer before then becoming the first female Operations Officer in the RFS.
Robyn is currently the 2IC of the Far West Team.
During their time with the RFS, the team has developed a communications system that works across the Far West which incorporates both a massive RFS radio network and also utilizes closed social media groups for operation responses.
These developments with the use of modern technology earned Robyn the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council’s Knowledge and Innovation Award in 2013.
That same year, Chris was awarded an Australian Fire Service Medal for distinguished service to the communities of western NSW.
In a speech on the night, Chris acknowledged the support they had both received from their staff, families and volunteers of the Far West Team.
The couple are moving to their farm in Forbes where Chris is looking forward to a more relaxing lifestyle and Robyn has transferred to the position of 2IC with the RFS Mid Lachlan Valley Team.