Long-serving Gloucester Great Lakes Rural Fire Service volunteers were recognised by medal presentations at Tuncurry and Gloucester on Saturday.
Presenting the long-service medals, NSW RFS Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons paid tribute to the professionalism of the RFS volunteers, and the service and sacrifice given by the members and their families.
That service given by the 26 volunteers receiving medals on Saturday totalled almost 500 years.
Commissioner Fitzsimmons said the firefighting skills of NSW RFS volunteers were respected across Australia, and overseas, with 30 RFS members currently in Canada assisting with forest fires.
He reflected on how the RFS has come a long way from the day when getting an old ex-army fire truck to actually start was the first challenge for firefighters.
This year the NSW Government has committed a further $30 million to updating RFS facilities and equipment, and the Commissioner revealed that large air tankers, capable of carrying up to 45,000 litres may be used in firefighting operations this summer.
For the Commissioner it was a busy day on Saturday with a major fire in the Blue Mountains, but he was able to keep an eye on operations there thanks to the high-tech communications centre at Tuncurry Fire Control.