LONG SERVICE: Station Commander Senior Instructor Brian Aubusson with partner Kelly Haines at the presentation ceremony in Ballina.
LONG SERVICE: Station Commander Senior Instructor Brian Aubusson with partner Kelly Haines at the presentation ceremony in Ballina. Cathy Adams

Firies still inspire Ballina boss after 35 years of service

BRIAN Aubusson has worked in many high-incident fire stations during his career, but saw the day he received a medal for his 35 years of service as an opportunity to reflect on the good things about his job, rather than the bad.

He said the opportunity to help people on the worst days of their lives gave him the greatest sense of satisfaction in his job as a firefighter, but it wasn't his initial motivation when he signed in 1979.

"You join for one reason, but you stay for another," he said.

As a fresh-faced, surf-loving 19 year old, the Ballina Station Commander saw the hours as an attractive work option.

"The shift work suited me at the time," he said. "Four days on and four days off sounded pretty good to me."

While not wanting to dwell on some of the more traumatic jobs he had attended, Mr Aubusson said attending the QLD floods was a great example of inter-agency and inter-state co-operation.

With lots of change in technology and equipment over the years, he said the consideration of employee welfare and the introduction of the Employees Assistance Program was a major change in the service.

"Once upon-a-time you would have been told to 'just get on with it'... there's recognition (now) we are going to get post-traumatic stress, and that's ok, but when it becomes a disorder, that interferes with people's lives."

Mr Aubusson said it was special to receive the award in person from the Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins.

"It's super important to get the award directly from the commissioner, for him to take the time to come and see us is extraordinary."

Commissioner Mullins said he was very proud of the 13 members who received medals at the ceremony.

"I thank you for this service, I think its amazing," he said. "You inspire me everyday.

"Every four minutes there's a red truck rolling somewhere in NSW to help someone."

Award recipients

Brian Aubusson, Senior Instructor Country RN2 - National Medal - 2nd clasp

Stephen Sharp, SO Tweed Heads - National Medal - 2nd clasp

Dennis Henry, Captain Ballina - National Medal - 2nd clasp

Greg Miller, Deputy Captain Casino - National Medal - 1st clasp

Barry Plater, RFF Maclean - National Medal - 1st clasp

David Headon, Maclean Retained Firefighter - National Medal

Les Gorey, Duty Commander Region North - Long Service Good Conduct - 1st clasp

Bruce Key, Deputy Captain Ballina - Long Service Good Conduct - 1st clasp

Ian Johnson, Retained Firefighter Ballina - Long Service Good Conduct -1st clasp

Owen Gray, Captain Maclean - Long Service Good Conduct - 1st clasp

Brian Donachie, Retained Firefighter Tweed Heads -Long Service Good Conduct Medal

Leonard Bebb, Retained Firefighter Maclean - Long Service Good Conduct Medal

Kyla Fay, Ballina Area Admin Officer - Long Service Good Conduct Medal


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