Australia Day Honours -

Published: 26 Jan 2022 10:00am

Three Fire and Rescue NSW innovators rewarded with Australia Day Honours
Three dedicated Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters have been awarded Australian Fire Service Medals (AFSM) for their commitment towards mental health, community engagement and public safety.

The AFSM was established in 1988 to recognise firefighters, permanent or volunteer, who have rendered distinguished service for their organisations.

The medals are awarded on Australia Day and the Queen’s Birthday each year.

FRNSW Commissioner, Paul Baxter, has expressed his pride in the work carried out by the AFSM recipients.

“The impressive service and body of work by these three firefighters is reflective of the efforts that are happening across Fire and Rescue NSW,” Commissioner Baxter said.

“It’s in the nature of firefighters to look out for their communities and each other,” he added, “Peter, Tara and David have led from the front in the work they have been doing and it’s terrific to see them receive national recognition for their service and achievements.”

Superintendent Peter Jacobs

Since joining FRNSW in August 1985, Supt Jacobs has given 36 years of exemplary service to the organisation and the people of New South Wales.

The safety and wellbeing of the community, and the welfare of his fellow firefighters, have been at the heart of many of the projects Supt Jacobs has focussed on during his career.

He has been involved in developing key I.T. programs and reform initiatives to strengthen information-sharing and increase firefighter safety.

In addition to his current role as the Superintendent in charge of Prevention and Support, Professional Standards, in which he has been instrumental in leading cultural change within the organisation,

Peter is also a FRNSW volunteer Peer Support Officer and was a former member and Captain of the Arcadia Rural Fire Service Brigade over 17 years.

Senior Firefighter Tara Lal

Senior Firefighter, Tara Lal, has made a significant and distinguished contribution towards Mental Health and Wellbeing within Fire and Rescue NSW, the number one strategic priority outlined in the organisation’s Corporate Plan.

Senior Firefighter Lal has been acknowledged for her vital, invaluable and inspirational contributions to building and maintaining the mental health and resilience of her fellow firefighters.

Tara also provides her extensive expertise in workplace mental health to Surf Life Saving Australia for whom she volunteers as a lifesaver in her spare time.

In 2017, Tara was a finalist for the Rotary Inspirational Woman Of The Year Award.

Captain David O’Donnell

Captain O’Donnell has displayed a commitment to public safety in the community of Wingham on the mid-north coast of NSW for more than 33 years as a Fire and Rescue NSW firefighter and officer.
His dedication to emergency prevention, responses and recovery is highlighted by his leading efforts to create a partnership with NSW Ambulance under the Community First responder program which sees Wingham Fire and Rescue crews assisting paramedics during medical emergencies in remote and isolated communities.
This initiative is estimated to have saved and improved countless lives in the area.
David also serves as a Peer Support Officer, volunteering his own time to care for his fellow firefighters as they deal with the stresses and impacts of responding to emergencies.
FRNSW Musical Director hits a high note with
Order of Australia medal
The Musical Director of the Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Band has been awarded the Order of Australia medal for his long and distinguished service to music through marching and brass bands.
Mark Reay joined the band as director 42 years ago, improving its skills to earn the extremely high reputation it enjoys today.
Mark and the band are involved in many community events through the state including fund-raising for the Burns Unit at Westmead Hospital.
As Director, Mark, whose late brother Bill rose through FRNSW ranks to become its Chief Officer, is renowned for his leadership, enthusiasm and support to all members of the band.
Under Mark’s guidance, the band has been invited to perform numerous times overseas including the USA, Mexico, Canada, China, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
FRNSW congratulates Mark for his well-deserved national recognition.

Updated: 25 Oct 2022 01:06pm

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