Thursday, April 18, 2024

Lives of lost NSW emergency service volunteers remembered

The memory of five NSW Emergency Service volunteers who lost their lives in the past year has been honoured at a memorial service today.

The volunteers’ families and representatives of NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW State Emergency Service, Marine Rescue NSW, VRA Rescue NSW, and other emergency services gathered at Mrs Macquaries Point to honour the five volunteers as part of the 23rd annual NSW Emergency Service Volunteers service.

Paul Norton, Randall Macarthur, Bruce Holz, Michael Holland and Tony Hardy all served their communities as NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers, and all died as a result of illnesses associated with their firefighting duties.

“Today was a day to mourn the loss of the five RFS volunteers lost over the past year and all those who had made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the community,” said RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers.

“I also acknowledge their loved ones, who have paid a great price. It is important for us to thank the families of all our volunteers, whose support is so important.

“While the annual Memorial service is a time for solemn reflection, it is also a time to take great pride in the fact that across NSW, members of the community still selflessly commit themselves to helping their neighbours.”

The men have been added to the Memorial’s Honour Roll, which now has the names of 115 volunteers who gave their time to help and protect communities across the state.

The Memorial was established in 1999 to honour fallen men and women from the State’s volunteer emergency services.

“Today is an important day to pause and honour the memory of the men and women whose names are inscribed on the Volunteers Memorial. Their service to this state will never be forgotten,” said Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib.

“It is with great sadness that today we mark the loss of five volunteers, who had given a combined 183 years’ service to the RFS and to keeping our community safe.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the thousands of volunteers who selflessly put service above self to help and protect our community in times of emergency, whether in bushfires, floods, storms, on the water or accidents on our roads.”

There are 90,000 volunteers in NSW who give their time to serve communities right across the State.

The ceremonial lead of the annual Memorial Service is rotated between the four volunteer emergency service agencies, NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW State Emergency Service, Marine Rescue NSW, VRA Rescue NSW. The 2023 Memorial Service was led by Marine Rescue NSW.

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