civic-reception-20sept2013"Members of QF2 Brisbane have been presented with National Emergency Medals for their critical work saving lives and property throughout the worst of the Brisbane Flood Emergency in January 2011.

The Governor-General of Australia awarded a record 44 National Emergency Medals to the volunteers at a unique Civic Reception in Brisbane City Hall.

Ian Ratcliffe, Squadron Commodore of Coast Guard’s South Queensland Squadron, acted as Master of Ceremonies at the event, while Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta MP, and Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk handed out the medals. Lord Mayor Graham Quirk noted that this was the first time a Coast Guard Flotilla in Australia had been honoured with a Civic Reception.

In his welcoming address before a large crowd of Coast Guard members and friends, the Lord Mayor said, “Brisbane Coast Guard volunteers are no strangers to floods. They were the only volunteer marine rescue unit to operate in the disastrous 1974 Brisbane Floods. In January 2011, they were the first volunteer marine rescue unit called to duty by Brisbane Water Police, when the floods were declared a national emergency in the early hours of 10th January.”

“Fotilla Commander Steve Fleming took that call, and immediately began calling his members to action. Forty-five Brisbane Coast Guard volunteers responded to his call, leaving jobs and families behind as they raced to the flotilla base in Manly. From there, Commander Fleming and Deputy Commander Allen Penman assigned search and rescue tasks in the Brisbane River and further inland. Indeed, Brisbane Coast Guard volunteers took vessels not only into the most dangerous parts of the flooded Brisbane River, but also as far inland as the Lockyer Valley and Ipswich (where Coast Guard volunteers Paul Burchell and Harvey Shore were cut off for several days, and helped local Emergency Services rescue people and livestock from the flooded Bremer River).”

“Brisbane Coast Guard volunteers remained on duty in the most dangerous parts of the flood until the disaster was officially ended by Queensland Water Police nine days later. The Governor-General agreed this effort represented heroic work by Brisbane Coast Guard, and accordingly awarded them National Emergency Medals for their efforts. It is my privilege to present these medals to them today.”

The Lord Mayor concluded his address by noting: “These volunteers received nothing for their brave work during the floods. We all owe them a great debt of gratitude for their courage and their dedication. They are true heroes, one and all."