Bourke Rural Fire Brigade recognised for outstanding service

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner, Rob Rogers, with Inspector Craig Warwick from the the Far West RFS Team, Fire Fighter Isaac Amos, Deputy Captain Daniel Lowe, Group Captain Michael Amos, and Senior Deputy Captain Jonathan Amos – all from the Bourke Headquarters Rural Fire Brigade, plus Deputy Group Captain Des O’Mally Yantabulla Rural Fire Brigade and Minister for Emergency Services, Steph Cooke. Photo contributed

The Bourke Headquarters Brigade of the Rural Fire Service received the Commissioner’s Certificate of Commendation on Wednesday, the 4th of May, for going above and beyond to aid their community during a COVID-19 outbreak.

In August 2021, a hub for community assistance was set up at the Bourke Fire Control Centre.

Members of the Bourke Headquarters Brigade became key personnel in distributing care and food hampers across the region.

“Once the hub was operational,” District Manager of Far West NSW, Superintendent Vaughn Elsworth, said, “the volunteers joined personnel from other agencies, including NSW Health, NSW Police, Bourke Council, and other partners, to deliver these hampers in a contactless manner to all households in the Local Government Area, including Enngonia, Louth, Fords Bridge, Wanaaring, and Byrock.

“Working daily morning and afternoon shifts, the volunteers had given 700 volunteer hours by the end of the outbreak on 25 October 2021.”

NSW RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers attended the St Florian’s Day Awards and commended the volunteers for their effort.

“It is humbling to see the lengths our volunteers went to,” he said.

“This included multiple 300-kilometre trips to Enngonia to ensure remote communities affected by COVID-19 could still have these essential supplies.

“During this outbreak, these dedicated volunteers delivered 1,000 hampers and 250 fresh fruit and vegetable parcels to people.

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NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner, Rob Rogers, with Senior Deputy Captain Lee Hughston and Deputy Group Captain Bruce Hughston of the Wampralea Rural Fire Brigade, and Minister for Emergency Services, Steph Cooke. Photo contributed

Wanaaring Brigade honoured too

The Wampralea Brigade at Wanaaring were also honoured with a Commissioner’s Certificate of Commendation last week.

The award, accepted on behalf of the Wampralea Brigade by Bruce and Lee Hughston, relates to a motorcycle accident on the Cut Line Road 60 kilometres west of Wanaaring on 3 June 2021, when a motorcyclist suffered a broken shoulder.

Police and ambulance officers from Bourke were unable to reach the injured man due to wet weather and closed roads, so members of the Wampralea Rural Fire Brigade responded from Wanaaring.

They managed to reach the scene of the accident, and after liaising by satellite phone with the Flying Doctor, they provided first aid to the injured motorcyclist until the local health nurse arrived.

NSW RFS Commissioner, Rob Rogers, said that the remoteness of the location and the inability of other emergency

services to reach the scene saw the Wampralea Brigade members respond admirably, taking on additional responsibilities in challenging circumstances.