Trawool Fire Brigade members receive their National Emergency Medals. Photo: Wind and Willow Photography

By Grace Frost

Country Fire Authority, CFA, firefighters and staff members were honoured for their service during the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires at an event on June 3 and 4.

Two ceremonies, at Hidden Valley Resort, acknowledged volunteers from across the District 12 region and presented them with National Emergency Medals.

The medals are operational service medals that recognise ‘significant and sustained service to others in a nationally-significant Australian emergency’, including during Black Summer fires in 2019-2020.

Black Summer, one of the most significant Australian fire seasons on record, saw a code red declared in Victoria in November 2019 – the first time in more than a decade – before multiple fires commenced across the state.

The protection of land, properties and communities fell into the hands of CFA volunteers and staff, who responded to more than 3500 fires, burning a total 1.5 million hectares over 98 days of Black Summer.

Jacob Angelino of Wallan Fire Brigade accepts his National Emergency Medal.

CFA District 12 staff presented 58 medals on Saturday, with a full entitlement of 93 recipients if all were in attendance, and 79 medals on Sunday, 102 total if all were in attendance.

CFA board member Dawn Hartog said the medals demonstrated the nation’s recognition of the recipients’ ‘commitment and courageous service’ during the 2019-2020 fire season, and sincerely thanked CFA members for their service.

“The role that every single CFA member in this room played during those times […], to serve and protect your community is truly admirable,” she said.

“Whether you jumped on the strike team or managed rosters and resources, whether you worked in a district office or in [Incident Control Centres], or you provided other systems around your community, formally recognising that service is why we’re here today.

“It’s been quite a privilege to look at the faces of those who responded.”

CFA acting regional commander for Hume Rob van Dorsser said Black Summer, like previous detrimental fire seasons, had ‘shaped what CFA means and what CFA means to its members and communities’.

“Our communities and people are affected by natural disasters as much as our environment is,” he said.

“We are farmers, nurses, lawyers, tradies, teachers, CFA staff and everything in between. But we are united by a common purpose, that when anyone needs us, we always step up.”

Caitlin Roberts from Kilmore Fire Brigade sings the national anthem at the commencement of the event. ​

Recipients of National Emergency Medals

Presented on Saturday, June 3:


Shaun Bastow
Gaybrielle Burgess
Dominic McCarthy
Pina McCarthy

District 12 Headquarters
Karl Dolk
Barry Faid
Rodney Johns
Malcolm Lundberg
Tracey Mastropavlos
Kathryn Quinlan
Mark Ryan
Jeffrey Swain
Francis Tebble
Ralph Willingham

Leslie Bassett
Paul Chivers
William Fenech
Jake Kociancic
Peter Mcqueen
Michael Parker
Geoffrey Read
Lesley Read
Sharon Smith
Matthew Stirling
James Voogt
Jacob Williamson

Brenton Allan
Jacob Angelino
Timothy Benetti
Braydan Fletcher
Travis Gray
Deborah Hanson
Dylan Jordan
Terry James Nunn
Joshua Vogel

District 12 personnel
Judith McGill
Therese Morris
Leanne Rodwell

Presented on Sunday, June 4:

Matthew Ahern
Thomas Finnigan
Jack Galbraith
(Vincent) Leslie Geraghty
Ross Hibbert
Nicholas Jones
Mark Jones
Carin Kohler
Mark Kohler
Henry Laurie
John Mahoney
Karen McCarthy
Mark O’Doherty
Trevor Vienet

Debbie Cerda-Pavia
Andrea Bastow
Mark Beveridge
Russell Court
Paul Duff
Carly Ficheroux
Leah Matthews
Dionne Quinn
Grant Rawlin
Terry Roberts

Craig Ashworth
Patrick Chanloup
Gerard Hard
Mitchell Karanikas
Christine Lewis
Scott Mckenzie
David McLarty
John Smith
Kate Smith
Gavin Waite
Bryan White

Strath Creek – Reedy Creek
Shannon Larkin
Curran Smith
Andrew Socnik

Christopher Buzzard
Philippa Johnson
Jacqueline McElroy
Carlo Papi
Nigel Parry

Carmelo Bisignano
Allan Bush
Grant Collins

James Barlow
Anthony Crook
Paul Kerris
Sean Kerris
Georgia Munro
Wallace Ovenden
Matthew Rogan
Anthony Tennant
Jeremiah Tennant

John Kendrick
Yorin Miller
Shane Moore
Kylie Shingles

Whiteheads Creek – Tarcombe
Michel Becks
Scott James
Tristan McLarty
Peter Wales
Glenn Watson

District 12 personnel
Charles Cleary
Robert Van Dorsser
Brian Wright