Awards for our brigade crews who were there when the community needed them most

ABOVE: Casino RFS Brigade was listed in the award for the Northern Rivers District. Photos: Contributed

St Florian’s Day is on May 4.

This day is named after the patron saint of firefighters and on Thursday May 4, Rural Fire Service members were recognised for their service and duties.

The awards were nominated by peers for acts of bravery in protecting the community or for delivering the highest level of commitment to the community. The NSW Rural Fire Service award ceremony was held at the Dubbo Training Academy. 

Here are our local award recipients for the Commissioner’s Commendation for Service.

Mallanganee RFS, Mavis Goodlad

Mavis Goodlad was recognised for 37 years of service to Mallanganee RFS. Mavis joined the brigade in 1986 as part of what was then known as the Women’s Brigade. She held the positions of brigade secretary, president, RFS Association representative and community engagement officer. She has remained an active member attending local and out of the area fires, until recently. Mavis is now acting in an administrative role organising crews and community events.

Mummulgum RFS, Captain Barry Morgan

Barry Morgan was recognised for his significant contribution to flood operations. For months Barry helped communities across the Northern Rivers by notifying people of impending flooding, evacuating residents in low-lying areas and providing transport for medical supplies and emergencies. He also helped distressed residents clear out their flooded homes. He hosed out mud, sludge and sewage from homes and schools. When the flood situation eased, Barry volunteered to be division commander in the flooded communities of Parkes and Wentworth.

Woodenbong crew.

Mallanganee RFS, Senior deputy Captain John Holmes:

John Holmes was recognised for his diligent service and unwavering Commitment to Mallanganee RFS for more than 50 years. John has been a member since 1971. He became deputy captain in 1993 and senior captain in 2021. John has generously shared his knowledge and experience with his fellow volunteers. He has responded to local and numerous out of area incidents including the 1994 Pilliga, Cessnock and 2019/20 fires. He more recently supported flood operations in the Northern Rivers.

Jonathon Holmes and Mavis Goodlad with Neville O’Malley at the Mallanganee Station. Photo: Contributed

Wardell RFS, Campbell Kenyon and Neil Wheeler

Firefighters Campbell Kenyon and Neil Wheeler were at Wardell Brigade Station doing clean-up in the aftermath of the floods when a person drove up seeking urgent help for a man in cardiac arrest. Accompanied by Lieutenant Doug Mayfield from the Australian Defence Force, they arrived on the scene within eight minutes. The men used a defibrillator and CPR to keep the patient going until paramedics arrived.

The firefighters were later reunited with the men they helped save.

Wardell and Meerschaum Vale brigades

Members of Wardell and Meerschaum Vale brigades were recognised for their service to the community during the floods. When Wardell became isolated, the brigade station quickly became the base for coordinating rescues and evacuation operations not only in Wardell but also South Ballina, Empire Vale, Pimlico, and Blackwall Drive between Wardell and Broadwater. Several members were evacuated form their own homes and their immediate response was to support other affected residents.

When conditions eased, the brigade helped the community in recovery – cleaning houses and delivering meds to locals.

Campbell Kenyon at the Dubbo award ceremony.

Northern Rivers District

RFS and Fire Control staff were recognised for their exceptional service and commitment in response to the catastrophic flooding in 2022.

The award went to many brigades including: North Casino, Bentley, Old Bonalbo, Rappville, Bonalbo, Bungawalbin, Sextonville, Caniaba, Shannonbrook, Casino East, Casino, Tabulam, Tomki, Ellangowan, Green Pigeon, Tullera, Grevillia, West Coraki, Hanging Rock, Whiporie, Hogarth Range, Wiangaree, Woodburn, Kyogle, Woodenbong, Larnook, Woodview, Mallanganee and Mummulgum.

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