Lasting memory for fallen fireys in town they died saving
TWO fireys killed fighting the Black Summer bushfires have been honoured with a new memorial playground that is already a hit with their surviving two-year-old children.
Horsley Park NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteer firefighters and young dads Geoff Keaton, 32, and Andrew O'Dwyer, 36, died when a burnt gum tree fell and crushed the cab of their fire truck near Buxton in Sydney's southwest.
The Green Wattle Creek bushfire destroyed 37 homes but more than 1000 were saved.
When the fireys' kids Charlotte O'Dwyer and Harvey Keaton were called to the stage at today's official playground unveiling, they were out of earshot enjoying the new swing set.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the playground at Telopea Park in Buxton would be an uplifting reminder of the pair's ultimate sacrifice.
"I hope this is a place where Harvey and Charlotte and their mums and the broader community can feel the presence of Geoff and Andrew," Mr Morrison said.
"Children can heal us in a way we can never understand or explain, so this will be a place of healing, peace, quiet reflection but above all a place to play.
"A place for children like Charlotte and Harvey, who I note gave their very strong seal of approval earlier today as I watched them play.
"We all wish Geoff could have chased Harvey through the firetruck behind me and Andrew could have lifted Charlotte up to help grasp the monkey bars, while Jess and Melissa watched over enjoying a cup of coffee and a bit of a catch up."
Former NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the playground was the perfect addition to the Buxton community Mr Keaton and Mr O'Dwyer died saving.
"Andrew and Geoff paid the ultimate price," Mr Fitzsimmons said.
"They are the epitome of what a modern hero is in Australia."
Originally published as Lasting memory for fallen fireys in town they died saving