Today I am a very proud mum. My eldest son Matthew was presented with the National Emergency Medal. The National Emergency Medal is an operational service medal which recognises significant or sustained service to others in a nationally significant emergency. This medal was approved by Her Majesty the Queen in 2011.
Matthew was awarded the medal for sustained service during the 2009 Victoria Bushfires. The Black Saturday fires in the Summer of 2009 were the worst bushfires in Australia's history. 47 major fires erupted during the day on 7th February across the state of Victoria. 173 people lost their lives and many hundreds of people were significantly injured. Around 78 communities were directly impacted and whole towns were wiped out or left unrecognisable. The fires destroyed countless animals, more than 2,000 properties, 70 national parks and reserves and around 430,000 hectares of land. The weather conditions during these bushfires were oppressive and temperatures reached more than 46.4C (115.5F) and winds were at 120 kms per hour.
The fire brigades worked with courage and commitment to protect others and those that received awards today are very deserving of recognition for their service to the community.
The centre of the medal depicts Australia's national floral emblem, the wattle, and the edge symbolises sacrifices made in service to others during times of crisis. His full name is engraved on the back.
Well done Matty, you are a hero!