Volunteer firefighter Dave Welch is one of four finalists in the Rotary Emergency Service Community Awards (RESCA), designed to recognise emergency service personnel who have reflected the Rotary motto of “Service above Self”.   

Station Officer at Fire and Rescue NSW Station 314 Gunnedah, Dave is typical of many local volunteers, quickly reflecting the accolades to his fellow firefighters, who are all on-call/retained firefighters, with regular jobs.

With more than 12 years’ experience in the field, the nomination came as a complete surprise to him. 

With 22 volunteers at the Gunnedah station, the nomination said the fire captain ensures that the station is always at functional capacity. Dave volunteers his time as a peer support officer for the northern NSW Fire & Rescue Zone, often doing follow-up phone calls and driving to other stations after significant incidents to speak with crews and individuals. 

The citation went on to say that Dave has made an outreach to the community, championing home fire checks on homes and businesses and attending schools and workplaces to pass on the fire safety message, which the nomination said makes him a trusted figure in the Local Emergency Management Committee.

For his service in the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019/20, Dave received the Emergency Services Medal. After the Lismore floods in 2017, Dave took time between deployments to meet with locals and offer his experience in peer support. 

The awards dinner will be held on August 12.

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