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Some of the many RFS volunteers who received recognition for their years of service to the community, at a special ceremony on Saturday at the Clarence Valley Fire Control Centre in Ulmarra. Images: Lynne Mowbray

RFS volunteers recognised for long service

Lynne Mowbray |

Long serving Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers from around the Clarence Valley were recognised on Saturday for their dedication and commitment to the community.

NSW RFS Senior Assistant Commissioner Bruce McDonald presented five National Medals and 42 Long Service Medals at a special ceremony which was held at the Clarence Valley Fire Control Centre at Ulmarra, on Saturday morning.

Senior Assistant Commissioner McDonald said that it was wonderful to be present with the RFS volunteer workforce, (to acknowledge) the time, commitment and effort that they put in.

“These members do not volunteer their time for accolades; however these medals are a proud acknowledgement of the commitment shown by these individuals over the years.

“One member has given 50 years and even those who have given 10 years; that is such a long time to give to your community; these people are the salt of the earth, in my view,”  Senior Assistant Commissioner McDonald said.

In a media release from the RFS, Senior Assistant Commissioner McDonald said that he was honoured to present Neville Anderson with the NSW RFS Long Service Medal 4th Clasp.

“Nev has been a dedicated volunteer member of the NSW RFS for 50 years after first joining Corindi/Red Rock Brigade in 1968 and then becoming an integral member of the Sherwood Creek Brigade where his experience has been valued by his peers,” Senior Assistant Commissioner McDonald said.

“Over his five decades with the Service, he has fought fires locally and assisted communities further afield, including an interstate deployment to Victoria in 2009 and overseas to Canada in 2017,” he said.

After receiving his award for 50 years of service on Saturday, Neville received a standing ovation from his colleagues.

Neville said that since joining the RFS 50 years ago he has seen a massive change in the equipment etc; however the camaraderie has not changed.

“The best part about volunteering in the RFS has been the friendship and camaraderie,” Neville said.

“None of this would be possible though, without the support from home as well.

“I’d like to recognise my wife and family for the support that they have given me over the 50 years. It’s been incredible,” he said.

Senior Assistant Commissioner McDonald also acknowledged the contribution of John Page and Desmond Firth, who each received the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Clasps of their National Medal in recognition of 45 years of service.

“John joined the Coaldale Brigade in 1973 and after being Captain for nine years from 2001, was appointed group captain in 2001 and holds that position today,” Senior Assistant Commissioner McDonald said.

“Des became a member of the Coutts Crossing Brigade in 1974 and has been a well respected member since, sharing his local knowledge and experience with colleagues in his current role of Brigade President.

“Each volunteer that has been recognised, has demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment to their community,” he said.

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