IT HAS been a huge week for Rural Fire Service brigades in this region, with $1 million worth of new stations opening and dozens of volunteers thanked for long service - some more than 50 years.
The brigades at Maules Creek, Deep Creek (Narrabri) and Stonefield (Warialda Rail) unveiled their new headquarters, and Warialda and Boomi brigades also received new vehicles.
Long service medals and clasps, and national service medals, were also presented to longstanding members in three districts.
New stations: Maule’s Creek, Deep Creek
NSW RFS Assistant Commissioner Rebel Talbert visited the Maules Creek brigade on Tuesday for the official opening of their new station.
“This new station will enable volunteers to provide an even greater level of protection to the local community,” Assistant Commissioner Talbert said.
“The Maules Creek Brigade is understandably pleased that they now have the space to comfortably fit their vehicle.”
At a second ceremony, the Deep Creek brigade’s station was opened near the Narrabri Airport.
Assistant Commissioner Talbert said this was the result of members’ many years of hard work.
“Today, members of this brigade continue to protect their community from an array of incidents, and this new facility will also be utilised by the Namoi Gwydir Support Brigade Aviation Section.
“Its location will allow for quick emergency response and improved facilities for airbase personnel.
“I commend both the Maules Creek and Deep Creek Brigade’s fundraising efforts to assist with the cost of these facilities, together worth over $778,000.”
Long service medals: Narrabri district
Assistant Commissioner Talbert also presented 31 long service medals to Narrabri district volunteers, recognising their ongoing commitment to the community.
“The 31 medal recipients have accumulated a total of 875 years of service between them, with one member having dedicated more than 50 years to their brigade,” she said.
“Keith Thompson, a member of the Brooklyn brigade for 55 years, has held many positions including senior deputy captain. His time and service to the community is very much valued.
“Each of the volunteers being recognised has demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment to their community over the years, and these medals are our proud acknowledgement of their efforts.
“I know they will continue to serve their local communities for many years to come and share their knowledge, experience and firefighting skills both locally and further afield.”
Long service medals: Gwydir district
The milestones continued on Wednesday at a ceremony in Warialda Rail.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and NSW RFS assistant commissioner Rebel Talbert recognised the achievements of veteran volunteers, the opening of a new station and handover of new vehicles.
Mr Marshall congratulated volunteer firefighters and staff for carrying out the important work they do to protect their local communities.
“Each of the volunteers recognised today have demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment to their community over the years; and these medals, new facilities and resources are one way to show appreciation for the level of service they provide,” Mr Marshall said.
Assistant Commissioner Talbert said 21 long service medals and clasps were presented.
“Notably, four of the recipients today have given more than 50 years each in service to their communities,” she said.
“While our volunteers certainly don't expect awards or accolades, all of them are most worthy of our sincere gratitude and thanks.
“Congratulations to Alf King on 64 dedicated years to the service, an active member of the Bangheet Brigade who has held the position of first aid officer for six years.”
Long service medals: Moree district
At a second ceremony in Moree, three long service and three national medals were presented.
“A very worthy recipient of the national medal, Robert Gallagher, has been recognised for his 26 years' service, attending over 720 incidents since 2000.
“All recipients must be commended on their dedication, commitment and service to the local community.”
New station: Stonefield brigade
NSW RFS Assistant Commissioner Rebel Talbert congratulated the Stonefield brigade on the opening of their new station which features two truck bays, meeting room, kitchen and bathroom.
“This station may have cost $218,000, but to the brigade and the community it protects, it is a priceless resource,” she said.
New vehicles: Warialda and Boomi brigades
The celebrations continued with the handover of new vehicles to the Warialda and Boomi brigades.
“Warialda and Boomi brigades have both received a new category six vehicle, assisting to protect their communities and others in the area,” Assistant Commissioner Talbert said.