Gladstone fireys recognised for NSW bushfire efforts
In his seven years working as a firefighter, Jason Polzin had never seen a bushfire as devastating as the New South Wales fires.
The first officer for Calliope Rural Fire Brigade was among the many Queensland firefighters deployed down south last January.
Mr Polzin worked alongside NSW firefighters to control the unprecedented blaze, which tore through 5.3 million hectares.
“I’ve never seen a fire like that as far as the heat,” Mr Polzin said.
“There was a lot of devastation, a lot of burnt houses.
“Coming from this area, you don’t see fires that savage.”
Mr Polzin, along with 14 other volunteers, were awarded for their bravery on the front lines at a ceremony on Friday.
Volunteers from Gladstone, Calliope, Wartburg, Rosedale, Benaraby, Tannum Sands, Colosseum, Turkey Beach and Mount Maurice rural fire brigades received a NSW Premier award for their services.
A QFES Rural Fire Service volunteer pin was also awarded to those who had volunteered for a year.
Central Region assistant commissioner Darryl King and Gladstone area director Craig Magick presented the awards.
Mr King said the awards acknowledged the selfless efforts of volunteers who frequently travelled to bushfire-affected communities on their own time.
“Their efforts represent not only QFES and the Rural Fire Service, but also the whole region of Queensland,” Mr King said.
Mr Magick said he was proud of the amount of Gladstone region volunteers who helped during the bushfires.
“I’m extremely honoured we have an incredible pool of volunteers who keep giving, not only to their local community but communities right across Australia,” Mr Magick said.
“It was truly extraordinary the amount of effort our volunteers put into going to NSW and ACT to assist.
Mr Magick, who received an award himself, said it was great to be recognised.
“It’s always lovely to get recognition but it is not something you seek, you volunteer for the community and you do it for passion,” he said.
“All our volunteers don’t go out seeking awards, but it’s always nice to be recognised.”
NSW Premier Award
Sarah Toth QFES RFS Gladstone Area
Daniel Cashman Calliope RFB
David Hale Wartburg RFB
Shane Ingram Rosedale RFB
Brian Lamb Rosedale RFB
Adam Lindra Wartburg RFB
Stephen Withoos Benaraby RFB
Jason Polzin Calliope RFB
David McNamara Tannum RFB
Andrew Mitchell Colosseum RFB
Errol Noye Turkey Beach RFB
Kim Polzin QFES RFS Gladstone Area
Colin Schafer Rosedale RFB
Ian Hartley Mount Maurice RFB
Inspector Craig Magick QFES RFS Gladstone Area
QFES Rural Fire Service Volunteer Pin