UGFM Broadcasters Awarded National Emergency Medal

Seven UGFM Broadcasters have received the National Emergency Medal at a ceremony held by the Murrindindi Shire Council to honor 48 recipients involved with the Victorian 2009 Bushfires, bringing the total to nine so far for the station.

Broadcasters Frank Arendse, Chris Edwards, Rita Guenzel, Ian Hewitt, Gerry Laws, Sue Porter & Kim Whitten received the awards along with members from Lions, three radio operators from WICEN and other community organizations involved with the fires.

UGFM President and Station Manager Peter Weeks said “it was great to be able to give the recognition that these broadcasters deserve following the outstanding work performed in helping to save lives through emergency broadcasting. It was difficult times for broadcasters knowing what was happening to people as they came to grips with what was unfolding.

Many other broadcasters at the station narrowly missed out in being nominated for the award that had strict criteria to be met to be able to be nominated. Many people put in ‘way and above’ their normal expectations during and following the fires aftermath and they too need to be recognized for everything they did”.

A total of ten broadcasters from UGFM have been nominated for the National Emergency Medal, President Peter Weeks and Treasurer Judy Blakeney have already received the award at a recent ceremony for their role during the fires through the State Emergency Service, with Vice President Peter Rice who has been nominated through the CFA yet to receive the award.

Peter Weeks said “many of us are and were involved in more than one organization and performed in multiple roles during the fires, so the National Emergency Medal was a one of the few awards outside the emergency services that people like broadcasters and other volunteer organizations such as Rotary & Lions that can be nominated for the award”.

Following the 2009 Victorian Bushfires and instigated by then Prime Minister Gillard the National Emergency Medal Regulations 2011 were approved by Her Majesty the Queen in October 2011.

The National Emergency Medal shall be awarded to persons who rendered sustained service during specified dates in specified places in response to nationally-significant emergencies within Australia; or to other persons who rendered significant service in response to such emergencies.

The inaugural meeting of the National Emergency Medal Committee was held on 13 December 2011 and, in accordance with Regulation 10(4) a-f, the Committee determined the following criteria for each nationally-significant emergency:

The Victorian Bushfires 2009 and the Queensland Floods 2010-11 and Cyclone Yasi. Service must be in the protection of lives and property, or in the service of interests, that are not their own, in direct response to the emergency, including support that enables or facilitates the emergency response