Firefighting veterans recognised in King’s Birthday honours - NSW

Published: 10 Jun 2024 06:46am

Three veterans of Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) have been recognised in this year’s King’s Birthday honours for their commitment to the fire service and community safety.

The Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) was established in 1988 to recognise the distinguished service of firefighters – permanent or volunteer – to their organisations.

The medals are awarded on the King’s Birthday each year by the Governor-General, on recommendation of Commonwealth and State ministers.

This year’s recipients are:

Assistant Commissioner – Regional Operations, Cheryl Anne Steer Assistant Commissioner Steer began her firefighting career 28 years ago and has worked her way up the ranks to command Regional Operations for FRNSW.

She has consistently demonstrated operational excellence throughout her service and has effectively managed major emergency incidents.

Assistant Commissioner Steer continues to mentor and encourage female firefighters through her actions and values-based leadership.

Not only is Assistant Commissioner Steer the co-chair of the FRNSW Women’s Inclusive Network (WIN), she is a director of the Relief and Welfare Fund, providing care and assistance to colleagues in need, and a director of the Museum of Fire, where she is helping to document the first 40 years of female firefighters in FRNSW.

Chief Superintendent – Capability Management, Paul Johnstone Chief Superintendent Paul Johnstone joined the then-New South Wales Fire Brigades in July 1985 and has shown outstanding leadership, unwavering commitment to community service, and exceptional contributions to the fire service over his 38 years of service.

With a long background as a firefighter in inner Sydney, Operational Staffing and HAZMAT/Counter Terrorism, Chief Superintendent Johnstone has been at the forefront of significant transformations within the service.

These include enhancing medical capabilities, firefighter training and readiness, and augmenting FRNSW’s In-water rescue capabilities.

He has also introduced instrumental improvements in relation to policies, standards and procedures reflecting best practice for FRNSW and he played a pivotal role in the response to the devastating floods of 2021/22.

Captain, Paul James Dorin, Corrimal Fire Station Paul Dorin joined FRNSW in July 1993 as an On-Call firefighter and has since consistently demonstrated the values of the organisation.

Captain Dorin has a passion for helping others and has become a role model for his peers and local community.

He has developed many safety initiatives including the Home Care Disability Fire Safety Program in which he promoted fire safety efforts involving clients and their carers, and this winter’s Smoke Alarm Action Day project, aimed at reducing complacency around fire risks in the home.

Beyond his operational duties, Capt. Dorin is a talented cartoonist, and has used his artistic abilities to raise funds for research into birth defects and childhood diseases such as cancer, epilepsy and a range of genetic disorders.

FRNSW Commissioner, Jeremy Fewtrell, congratulated the three award recipients for their outstanding commitment to service.

“All three firefighters are widely recognised for their exemplary devotion to duty and their “can do” attitudes towards their work,” Commissioner Fewtrell reflected.

“They present a professional, thoughtful and caring approach to their duties and they exemplify the values that FRNSW promotes,” he said.

“I’m personally very proud of them…they thoroughly deserve the recognition and I thank them for their tremendous efforts to date.”

Emergency Services Minister, Jihad Dib, said the AFSMs have been awarded to three exceptional role models within the service.

“Their professionalism consistently gets the job done, they have earned this recognition through courage and commitment, and I’m very pleased these firefighters are being honoured on the King’s Birthday in this way.”

Updated: 10 Jun 2024 06:51am

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