Three outstanding Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) volunteers have been honoured in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Awards.
Denis Purcell has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to the community through emergency response organisations.
Denis is currently the Finance and Communications Officer for the VICSES Bacchus Marsh Unit, but previously held the position on Unit Controller for the Warracknabeal Unit well as Deputy Controller for the Nhill Unit. His career as a VICSES volunteer dates back to 1977 and also includes a significant contribution to CFA and the Victorian Emergency Service Association.
The Emergency Service Medal (ESM) was awarded to Chris Patton from the VICSES Northcote Unit and Karen Picone from the VICSES Healesville Unit.
Chris joined the VICSES Northcote Unit in July 1987 and later became the Unit Controller and to this day, he is the longest serving Unit Controller in the VICSES Central Region.
He was heavily involved in the response to the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 where he managed the Northcote Unit's activities and assisted the Country Fire Authority (CFA) throughout fire affected areas. He also attended multiple relief centres and provided overall information and vital feedback regarding the fire situation.
Karen joined the VICSES Healesville Unit in November 2001 before being promoted to Unit Controller.
Karen’s strength of character and attention to detail, along with her problem solving solutions were highlighted during the Black Saturday Bushfires in 2009, particularly in relation to the Work Health Safety of her team members and volunteers. She is held in high regard by her Unit's members and by the wider community that she serves.