Australia Day Honours awarded to two MFS firefighters

Australia Day Honours highlight the work of those who go beyond the daily call of duty. The South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) is proud to announce that two of our personnel are recipients of the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in this year’s Australia Day Honours.

The AFSM is one of the highest honours an Australian firefighter can receive. Established in 1988 the medal recognises distinguished service by a member of an Australian fire service and in particular, for contributions made above and beyond normal duties and responsibilities.

Assitant Chief Fire Officer Glenn BENHAM

MFS Image - ACFO G Benham 2017 AFSM

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Benham joined the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) in January 1982 as a firefighter and progressed to the rank of Assistant Chief Fire Officer. He has served in several metropolitan stations and within the Training Department thereby gaining knowledge, skills and experience needed to progress through the ranks.

During his career he has been a mentor to his subordinates which has allowed these personnel to follow the same standards that he has set. His fairness, equity and decision making have ensured that not only has the MFS Executive benefited from his service, but also fellow firefighters of all ranks.

In his senior management role he is currently out posted to the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM) to deliver support to the front line operations sector through the functional portfolio of capability. Here his role involves the service delivery to the sector plans for Harmonisation, Modernisation and Alignment. 

A major part of his contribution has been arranging for Tongan Fire and Emergency Service Officers to travel to South Australia and train with the MFS. He has built strong relationship with the Tongan Community in South Australia, whose members billet the visiting Tongan Fire Officers. Of significance, in 2007 he travelled to Tonga to provide training and support to the Tonga Fire and Emergency Service to help them recover and rebuild, following major civil unrest in Tonga in 2006, where 80% of the downtown area of the capital Nuku'alofa was destroyed by arson fires.

He has also represented the MFS on the Pacific Island Fire and Emergency Services Association (PIFESA) which encompasses the member nations who are affiliated with the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC). Through PIFESA he has provided “in kind” support and coordinated donated equipment to Pacific Islands and represents the MFS on the AFAC Strategy Group for the Pacific Islands Liaison Officers.

He is also an accomplished firefighter who throughout a 34 year career has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to teamwork, organisational development and professionalism and has displayed considerable dedication to the Sustainable Development Program between the MFS and the Tonga Fire and Emergency Service.

Mr Benham is an extremely valuable member of the MFS and the standards that he has set in the carriage of his duties have always been of the highest level.

Retired Retained Station Officer Allan VOIGT

MFS Image - SO A Voigt 2017 AFSM credit Loxton News

Recently retired Retained Station Officer Voigt provided exemplary service and dedication to the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS), and to the broader regional community, throughout his 38 year career. More recently he has been tireless in his dedication to managing the MFS Retained Fire Station of Loxton.

He is highly respected for his firefighting knowledge and management skills. Additionally he has been an effective trainer in the 45 Recruit Breathing Apparatus courses since completing his trainer qualifications. His pride in the Loxton Station and its ability to meet the objectives of the MFS has been demonstrated by the station winning the MFS Proficiency and Audit Assessments Chief Officer's Shield on six occasions since 1997 and a total of 12 awards over 19 years.

He was awarded a MFS Special Mention for his bravery and actions in the line of duty in assisting with his crew in the rescue of a person from a burning vehicle which placed him at great risk. As a Retained Officer he has lead operations for other significant structure and bush fires around the Riverland area earning much gratitude from other emergency services in the community.

In addition to the numerous hours he has applied to the position as the Retained Station Officer, he has also committed time and energy to assist local charities with the “Shake the Boot” annual fundraiser providing support to the Loxton Hospital.

Further he has built a strong relationship with the Loxton and Waikerie Council in his support of the local Mardi Gras, the Loxton Yearly Family Day event, the local Christmas pageant “Loxton Lights Up”, and to the annual New Year's Eve Fireworks, all of which have not only raised the profile of the MFS within the region but provided support to local initiatives and community projects.

Mr Voigt has demonstrated enthusiasm and passion for his work, for the welfare of firefighters, and for the safety and well-being of the greater community of Loxton.

The MFS is pleased that the efforts and commitment of these two MFS firefighters have been recognised through the 2017 Australia Day Honours. These awards highlight the integrity, virtues and work ethic within the South Australian emergency sector and we congratulate the recipients on being acknowledged for their efforts.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Benham and Retained Station Officer Voigt will be presented with their AFSM at a ceremony later in the year.