Published: 27th January 2009

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Acting Commissioner John Benson today congratulated Hamilton resident, Station Officer Stuart Bear on receiving the Australian Fire Service Medal in the 2009 Australia Day Honours.

Station Officer Bear was one of three NSW Fire Brigade officers to receive the medal, oneof the highest honours a firefighter can receive for outstanding service.

Acting Commissioner Benson said Station Officer Bear was a dedicated fire officer whohad served the Newcastle community with distinction for the last thirty years.

"Since his appointment to the role of Station Officer, Stuart Bear worked as the station officer for Newcastle Fire Station for nine years and now oversees the Newcastle Communications Centre.

"He has worked with staff in the region to develop occupational health and safety initiatives for firefighters and has played a vital role in attracting retained or ‘on-call’ firefighters to protect the local community from fire and other emergencies.

"Station Officer Bear has been one of the driving forces behind the Newcastle Firefighters' Ball as well as raising thousands of dollars for the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Hunter Kidsafe and the Children’s Burns Survivor Group, with funds now exceeding $200,000."

"His progress through the NSW Fire Brigade has seen him serve and achieve with astandard of proficiency second to none."

Acting Commissioner Benson said the AFSM was a fitting tribute to his three decades of service.

"The public holds the efforts of emergency service workers like Station Officer Bear in extremely high regard and this medal is testament to his selfless dedication to the community he serves.

"I congratulate Station Officer Bear on his achievement and thank him for his years ofservice," Acting Commissioner Benson said.