The WAFES 2023 Awards ceremony and gala dinner was held on Saturday night, 9 September 2023 at the Crown Perth. The awards ceremony brought together career and volunteer firefighters, DFES personnel, SES and Marine Rescue volunteers from every region of WA to celebrate outstanding achievements in emergency services. Our Group was a finalist in the Marine Rescue Team Achievement Award – we were also the recipient of this award last year.
The event was “Live Streamed” allowing those who could not attend to still feel they were “participating in the evening” (but without the gourmet meals and entertainment!!). Well done to the organisers! It was an awesome surprise to hear the announcement by Jeff Howell, Commander, VMRWA that the “Commander’s Award” was won by Mike Cockburn and Chrissy Heu – Skipper/Bosun and Commander – of our Group for their outstanding efforts and bravery during the successful rescue of three members of a capsized yacht near Jurien in May 2022. Also in attendance at the Ceremony was our home-based radio operator, Sharon Stiles, who was on duty during this rescue.
Our Group also won the Marine Rescue Team Achievement Award!! The DFES press release reads: “Responding to an EPIRB activation off the Midwest coast, Marine Rescue Jurien Bay braved gale-force winds and dangerous swell to rescue three crew members of a yacht that had capsized eight miles from shore in the severe weather. Waves hit rescue vessel ‘Crikey’ from multiple directions as skipper Mike Cockburn expertly manoeuvred close to the capsized yacht so Commander Chrissy Heu could throw a life ring to the last person onboard. The successful mission was underpinned by the crew’s courage, calmness under pressure and extensive marine training.” Credit: DFES press release.
and “A team of volunteers who braved treacherous seas to save the crew of a capsized yacht have been celebrated at the 2023 Western Australia Fire and Emergency Services (WAFES) Awards. Marine Rescue Jurien Bay received the Team Achievement Award for their bravery and perseverance during the mission, which unfolded off the Midwest coast in May 2022 following a 1am distress call. The WAFES Awards honour the achievements of groups and individuals working and volunteering in WA’s emergency services.” Credit: DFES press release.
In addition to the above, our wonderful District Officer, Marine Midwest Gascoyne, Simon Miller won the DFES Operational Staff Individual Achievement Award. This is so very well deserved. Congratulations Simon!
A special thank you to DFES for organising the event and the exceptional keynote speakers. Congratulations to all the nominees, finalists and winners in all award categories from across all volunteer groups, career firefighters and DFES staff.