Now Greens leader backs campaign for national medal for fire volunteers

A PLEA from a volunteer firefighter for all volunteers from the November 2018 Queensland bushfires to be recognised by a national medal has touched the Greens Party leader.

Adrian Reynolds was posted to the Australian Defence Force depot in Rockhampton when many fires broke out in the region, including one at Kabra that resulted in more than 8000 people being evacuated from Gracemere.

Mr Reynolds, the only full-time member in the 11th Engineer Regiment at the time, raised his hand to help fight the fires in Central Queensland.

Earlier this year, Mr Reynolds sent off letters to various Federal Government departments and members of parliament asking for all volunteers - from firefighters to communications people to those who fed the firefighters - to be recognised for the brave efforts by way of a medal - the National Emergency Medal.

When The Morning Bulletin ran Mr Reynolds’s story about his time fighting fires in CQ and the medal request, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the region’s firefighters deserved recognition.

“What we saw last year was truly frightening, a once in a lifetime threat to life and property for many Central Queenslanders,” she said.

Mr Reynolds has not stopped his campaign to see the medal awarded for the November bushfires and recently received a copy of a letter of support from Greens leader and senator, Larissa Waters.

The letter is addressed to the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat who administers the medals.

“We must acknowledge that our brave volunteer firefighters are on the frontline of rapidly increasing global warming, knowing full well that the fires they fight are deadlier, will last longer, and are more unpredictable than those we’ve seen before, and they nevertheless stand steadfast,” Ms Waters wrote.

“The physical, emotional and mental toll borne by our volunteer firefighters is not to be underestimated.

“They bravely position themselves in between people, infrastructure and livestock against raging, out-of-control bushfires that are burning towards their path.

“Many work night and day with little sleep, seeing burnt and deceased wildlife, livestock and sometimes people.

“They experience the raw emotion when a person or a family loses their home.

“They feel a deep sense of loss when an area they are fighting to protect perishes.”

The Morning Bulletin asked readers of its website in June, “Do you think all who fought the November/December 2018 fires should get the National Emergency Medal?”

The readers responded with 85 per cent saying ‘Yes’ and 14 per cent responding ‘No’.