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Parkes rural firefighters recognised for their service totalling 330 years

Twelve Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighters from Parkes and one from Ootha have been honoured for their long service that has a combined total of 330 years.

The Mid Lachlan Valley Team hosted the opening of the new Parkes Headquarters Rural Fire Station in Hanlon Street on Saturday, which coincided with a medal presentation.

RFS Assistant Commissioner Peter McKechnie presented 10 medals, two long service clasps and one posthumous medal for service ranging from 10 years to as much as 61.

"This is a thank you in regards to the service you've given," Assistant Commissioner Peter McKechnie said.

Member for the Legislative Council Sam Farraway was among the government dignitaries present at the ceremony.

"There are firefighters with 61 years, 52 years and 39 years of service - I'm sure there aren't too many who can top that," he said.

"You are selfless, you are brave but on top of all of that you are generous," Mr Farraway told the volunteers present before thanking them for their ongoing dedication.

Joel Breaden (absent) and Brian Broadbere both received a long service medal for 10 years of service with the Parkes Headquarters Brigade.

Hayley Chester was recognised for 11 years of service with Parkes, while her father and brigade captain Steve Chester and Jennifar Baker have given 15 years each.

Rachel Bailey has served 16 years with the Parkes Headquarters Brigade, with 77-year-old Frank Guise volunteering for 18 years.

Kenneth Ladbury (absent) has given 23 years to the RFS, joining the West Parkes Brigade in 1997 and then Parkes Headquarters in 2009. During his time with Parkes HQ, he has been deputy captain between 2009 and 2017 and vice president from 2013 to 2014.

Scott Baker was presented his first clasp for 26 years of service. He joined the Plumpton Brigade in 1994 and has since been a member of Uargon, Armidale Headquarters, Tamworth City and Trundle Village brigades.

Scott joined Parkes Headquarters in 2004, holding positions of treasurer, training officer, deputy captain, senior deputy captain and captain. He was elected deputy group captain in 2007 and group captain in 2019 for the Parkes district.

David Hodges has volunteered with the RFS for 34 years, joining the Bedgerabong Brigade in 1985 until 2007, Forbes Central in 2007 and Parkes Headquarters in 2014. He's held the position of deputy captain multiple times with Forbes Central and is currently deputy captain with Parkes Headquarters.

Martha Anne Jackson was posthumously awarded her long service medal for 39 years, which was accepted by Elise and Aaron Jackson.

Known as Anne, she joined the Lake Munmorah Brigade in 1980 until 1996, Wyong Comms Support Brigade from 1982 to 1996, Mannering Park in 1996 where she became a life member, and Parkes Headquarters in 1998. During this time Anne held the deputy captain and captain positions.

"Anne was always willing to help, putting the needs of others first," Mid Lachlan Valley district manager Superintendent Ken Neville said.

Robert McConkey (absent) was acknowledged for 52 years of service. He joined the Bodalla Brigade in 1967, becoming a life member, Parkes HQ in 2000 and Willow Tree Brigade in 2007 to 2016. Over this time Robert held positions of deputy captain, senior deputy captain and captain.

"During his service with the Rural Fire Service, Robert has been a dedicated member, always putting the needs of the brigade and the community first," Superintendent Neville said.

Ron Fisher (absent), giving 61 years of service, joined the Yarrabandi/Monomie Brigade in 1959. This brigade was amalgamated with Ootha around 1995.

Ron has been an active member throughout this time and held the position of senior deputy captain from 1976 to 1978.

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