ALWAYS READY: SES Ballina Unit Commander, Gerry Burnage is a finalists for the 2020 Rotary Emergency Community Service Awards.
ALWAYS READY: SES Ballina Unit Commander, Gerry Burnage is a finalists for the 2020 Rotary Emergency Community Service Awards.

3 heroes, 100 years of emergency work

THREE emergency service workers who have put the community first for decades have been named as finalists in the 2020 Rotary Emergency Community Service Awards.

The trio Mark Eglington from the Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Services Ballina Gerry Burnage from the Ballina State Emergency Service and Phillip Cornish from the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association Casino possess more than 100 years of combined experience.

They are finalists in a distinguished short-list drawn from Fire and Rescue NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service, the NSW State Emergency Service, Marine Rescue NSW, Surf Life Saving NSW, NSW Ambulance, and the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association.

Police and Emergency Services Minister, David Elliott, announced the 28 Rotary Districts of NSW Emergency Services Community Awards (RESCA) finalists.

"The past year has been an exceptionally challenging one for our community, and this is an appropriate time to pause, reflect and congratulate the individual emergency services for the service that they have provided," he said.

Winners for each service, plus two special overall winners, and the young volunteer

will be announced on October 30, then the overall winners for NSW will then represent the state at the National Awards on November 23, 2020.

 

NSW Rural Fire Service finalist - Mark Eglington

After RFS Group Captain for the Tweed / Far North Coast, Kenneth Mark (Mark) Eglington, and his colleagues were deployed to bushfire ravaged Cobargo earlier this year, they

refused to ignore the trauma on the South Coast.

FIREFIGHTER FINALIST: RFS Group Captain, Tweed - Far North Coast, Kenneth Mark (Mark) Eglingtonhas Is a finalists for the 2020 Rotary Emergency Community Service Awards.
FIREFIGHTER FINALIST: RFS Group Captain, Tweed - Far North Coast, Kenneth Mark (Mark) Eglingtonhas Is a finalists for the 2020 Rotary Emergency Community Service Awards.

Mr Eglington was the driving force behind forming a committee appealing for funds and equipment to be distributed to the Cobargo community and raised $40,000, $10,000 in donated equipment, $31,000 in fencing and plumbing equipment was purchased enough to fill a semi-trailer.

Cash donations were made to three local schools, Cobargo Scout Group and Cobargo Co-Op.

 

State Emergency Service finalist - Gerry Burnage

As SES Ballina Unit Commander, Mr Burnage showed his skills when Lennox Head was hit by a tornado in 2010, an event described as "like a bomb going off".

He lead a team which spent many days and nights helping residents and keeping them safe.

With 36 years of service, his awards include the Emergency Services Medal, National Medal & Clasp 1,2 NSW SES Life Member, NSW SES Commissioner's Unit Citation.

Part of Ballina SES Road Crash Rescue Team, he's supported the Yetties Program to expose youth in the community to volunteering, leadership, and emergency services.

 

NSW Volunteer Rescue Association finalist - Phillip Cornish

As Captain of VRA Casino, Mr Cornish has more than 35 years of service, including participating in a swift-water rescue in 2008, for which he received a Commendation for Bravery.

RESCUE READY: VRA Casino Rescue Squad Captain Phillip Cornish is a finalists for the 2020 Rotary Emergency Community Service Awards.
RESCUE READY: VRA Casino Rescue Squad Captain Phillip Cornish is a finalists for the 2020 Rotary Emergency Community Service Awards.

A foundation member of the VRA Gulgong in 1989, when he moved to Casino he joined the local VRA Rescue Squad and served diligently ever since, filling in as treasurer, volunteering for events at the local show, bringing in and mentoring new members, embracing change and served as president for several years.

Mr Cornish received the Premier's Award for 25 years' service and received the VRA Medal and the National Medal for Service.