A Sackville fire officer's commitment to protecting communities across NSW as well as dedication to organisational improvement has been recognised in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Assistant Commissioner Operational Improvement and Assurance at Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), Murray West, has been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM), the highest honour an Australian firefighter can receive.
Assistant Commissioner West commenced with FRNSW in 1985 and continues to be an active frontline firefighter. He has served across Sydney's western suburbs before taking on senior roles as Relieving Inspector, Zone Commander for Regional West 2, and the Area Commander for the Regional West.
In his roles in Regional Operations he strengthened the connection of isolated regional stations and improved service delivery through increased staffing levels and support to local managers.
FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter congratulated Assistant Commissioner West, who was one of four FRNSW firefighters to be awarded the prestigious medal.
He said that, during the 2019/20 Black Summer Bushfires, Assistant Commissioner West "played a critical role in mentoring and supporting a number of junior commanders through an extremely challenging operational period."
"His guidance to these commanders utilised his extensive operational experience and knowledge of bushfire behaviour in the Blue Mountains, and was pivotal in ensuring the safe and effective operations by FRNSW firefighters in the most extreme of conditions."
Commissioner Baxter said throughout his 36-year service, Assistant Commissioner West has demonstrated exceptional operational and organisational management skills which has ensured that FRNSW provides the best possible service to the community.
"Assistant Commissioner West utilises his extensive operational firefighting and command experience to guide operations and develop the next generation of organisational leaders," Commissioner Baxter said.
Assistant Commissioner West said: "I am deeply honoured to be awarded an AFSM in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. It is completely unexpected and I am humbled to be recognised by my peers.
"I am enormously grateful to those who have mentored and encouraged me over my 36 year career and most importantly, my family, for their unwavering love and support."