Volunteer firefighters awarded for service

LONGSTANDING volunteers from the Gloucester-Great Lakes region were honoured by the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) for their ongoing commitment to the local community last Saturday. 

RFS award recipients with deputy mayor Frank Hooke, councillor Jim Henderson, Gloucester Great-Lakes RFS superintendent Jim Blackmore and Assistant Commissioner Steve Yorke at the awards presentation in Gloucester last Saturday.

RFS award recipients with deputy mayor Frank Hooke, councillor Jim Henderson, Gloucester Great-Lakes RFS superintendent Jim Blackmore and Assistant Commissioner Steve Yorke at the awards presentation in Gloucester last Saturday.

Assistant Commissioner Steve Yorke presented six Long Service Medals and five National Medals to 11 volunteers at the Gloucester headquarters of the RFS.

“Each and every one 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,” Assistant Commissioner Yorke said.

“These medals are our proud acknowledgement of their efforts and well deserved.”

National Medals recognise of years of diligent service and are awarded to members who go above and beyond for their brigade.

Assistant Commissioner Yorke said Gloucester-Great Lakes volunteers consistently demonstrate an exceptional level of commitment to the local community.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers for their ongoing efforts to protect their community, each and every day,” Assistant Commissioner Yorke said.

“Their hard work and professionalism doesn't go unnoticed and this is also an opportunity for the broader community to express their gratitude and say thank you to all Gloucester-Great Lakes volunteers.”

National Medal recipients (for 15 years or more service):

Kevin Adams (20 years service):

Kevin joined the Rural Fire Service in 1994 and held the position of Senior Deputy Captain and Captain of the Gloucester Brigade.

He has been heavily involved in the Aviation Support Brigade since 1997 and holds the rank of Senior Deputy Captain to the present day.

Kevin has taken a step back in fire-fighting operations these days due to four knee operations but this has not stopped him being active.

He is the Gloucester storeman running anywhere the RFS asks without a problem and is a member of the Gloucester Catering Brigade.

The Gloucester-Great Lakes District has acquired a bulk water tanker for the coming fire season and he has been tasked with looking after it.

Without hesitation, Kevin said yes and is treating it as if it were his own. The RFS has great comfort in knowing that it will be well looked after.

Bob Ashby (26 years service):

Bob joined Stratford Brigade in 1988.

The brigade changed its name to Avon Brigade in 1999.

Bob has held many ranks with the brigade and has travelled all over the State firefighting.

In 2014 Bob joined the Wards River Brigade, boosting its membership.

Dennis Crawford (26 years and 1st clasp):

Dennis has been a member of the Barrington Brigade for 27 years and was one of the first to undertake to the Bush Fire-fighter course when it was first released.

In his time as a brigade member, he has held several positions including Deputy Captain and Vice President from 2002 to 2006 and equipment officer from 2011 to the present day.

Dennis is Deputy Captain of the Barrington Brigade.

Dennis was instrumental in building the brigade’s old cat nine striker virtually from scratch, until it was replaced with a new appliance.

He also found secondhand kitchen cupboards for the station when it was extended a few years ago.

As a longstanding member, Dennis was heavily involved in fundraising to build the original section of the station.

His latest venture was a steel drying pole.

As a reliable member Dennis has attended many fire incidents and section 44s and has contributed hundreds of hours to the RFS. 

Steve Bignell (27 years service):

Steve joined the Stratford Brigade in December 1987 and has remained actively involved with the brigade ever since. 

Steve was elected Senior Deputy Captain in 1995, a position he held until 1998 upon being elected Captain. 

Steve has also been a member of the training group.

When Avon Brigade formed Steven was appointed the first Captain.

He held the position until standing down due to family commitments. 

Steve is still actively involved in the Avon Brigade. 

Gary Threadgate (30 years service and 1st clasp): 

Gary joined the Stratford Brigade in March 1984.

While a member of Stratford, Gary held the position of Deputy Captain and Secretary.

Upon the formation of the Avon Rural Fire Brigade, Gary has held the rank of Deputy Captain, Senior Deputy Captain and Captain - a rank he still holds today.

Gary is not one to do things on his own and has the whole family right there beside him as members of the brigade.

Gary has seen a lot of change over the years and has had to adapt with a new brigade and new district, something he has taken in his stride.

Long Service Medals:

John Read (11 years service) - Gangat Brigade.

Barbara Read (11 years service) - Gangat Brigade.

Janette Cairns (11 years service) - Gangat Brigade.

Alan Cairns (11 years service) - Gangat Brigade.

George Fischer (19 years service) - Gangat Brigade.

Bob Murray (34 years services and 1st and 2nd clasp) - Gangat Brigade.

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