Members of two fire brigades involved in firefighting operations during the Kingiman fire, near Ulladulla, in August last year have been recognised for their commitment with a Commissioners's Unit Citation for Service.
In presenting the annual awards with Police and Emergency Services minster David Elliott NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said tragically, one of the water-bombing helicopters supporting the ground crews crashed and the pilot was killed.
"Positioned close by to the crash site, crew members were immediately on scene to render assistance and after assessing the situation, initiated fire suppression and secured the site for further investigations. In what was a very distressing situation, these brigade members displayed great dignity and professionalism".
A Commissioner's certificate of Commendation was also presented to the Bega Valley Brigades following the Reedy Swamp fire that impacted an area that included Tathra on March 18, 2018.
"Displaying courage and support to the community, these members played a significant role in the protection of lives and property," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
In all 21 individuals and 11 teams were recognised as part the NSW RFS's annual awards for exceptional service and bravery.
The awards ceremony is held on May 4 each year to coincide with the Feast Day of St Florian, Patron Saint of Firefighters and International Firefighters' Day.
"Today we take this opportunity to thank our NSW RFS volunteers for their ongoing hard work and professionalism," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
"These men and women serve our communities and selflessly respond to all manner of fire and emergencies.
"We pay tribute to those brave members whose dedication continues to protect lives and property of this great state.
Commissioner Fitzsimmons also paid special tribute to former Commissioner Philip Koperberg, who was awarded a Commissioner's Commendation for Service.
After joining the North Springwood Brigade in 1967, Mr Koperberg went on to have a long and distinguished career, from Blue Mountains Fire Control Officer, to being appointed the first NSW RFS Commissioner.
Following his resignation in 2007, appointed Recovery Coordinator for the 2013 Blue Mountains fires.
Other award recipients include:
- Firefighter Brian Baker, Bulli Brigade, Illawarra, Region East
- Captain Danielle Brice, Eurobodalla Volunteer Operational Support Brigade & Tuross Head Brigades,Far South Coast, Region South
- District Officer Matthew Reeves, Illawarra, Region East
- Illawarra Communications After Hours Team, Illawarra Communications, Illawarra, Region East