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Volunteers recognised with National Emergency Medals

Tony Cullen, Des Dowie, Jeffrey Hubbard and Bruce Smith have been recognised for their contributions during natural disasters.

Friday January 27, 2012

Tony Cullen at an evacuation centre during the Ipswich flood crisis

Four Red Cross volunteers, Tony Cullen, Des Dowie, Jeffrey Hubbard and Bruce Smith, have been recognised for their contribution to helping Australians affected by natural disasters with inaugural National Emergency Medals.

Red Cross CEO, Robert Tickner, said these four volunteers represented the huge contribution made by thousands of Red Cross members, volunteers and supporters across Australia and around the world.

"The success of Red Cross as the largest humanitarian organisation in the world rests on the work of trained and experienced volunteers. The great work of our volunteers was recognised with the National Emergency Medals for Tony, Des, Jeff and Bruce, and Australia Day honours for a number of other Red Cross people," said Mr Tickner.

"Last year, more than 3,000 volunteers dedicated time and effort to Red Cross emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities across multiple events, including the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi, the Victorian floods, bushfires in Western Australia and a heatwave in South Australia.

The National Emergency Awards were presented by the Prime Minister at a ceremony in Canberra on Australia Day and at an event today in recognition of the Black Saturday bushfires in Flowerdale, Victoria.

As Red Cross volunteers Tony, Des, Jeff and Bruce have each provided extraordinary service:

Tony Cullen is from Runcorn in Brisbane, Queensland. He is a specialist Red Cross Operations Officer who goes into emergency and disaster situations as part of the first wave response. On Boxing Day in 2011 he travelled to Theodore, south-west of Rockhampton, and played a crucial role in the evacuation of the town, which involved 167 helicopter flights. Tony also worked in evacuation centres in Ispwich and the Brisbane Showgrounds during last year's floods and in Townsville in response to Cyclones Anthony and Yasi.

Des Dowie from Rawson in Gippsland, Victoria is a highly experienced volunteer who has worked with Red Cross emergency services for more than 15 years and sits on the Red Cross Victorian State Advisory Board. Des has volunteered in multiple emergencies, including the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires when he provided personal support to people affected by the fires back home in Gippsland and also worked in the Red Cross State Emergency Operations centre in Melbourne. During the Queensland floods last year, Des also worked in the State Inquiry Centre for Red Cross.

Jeffrey Hubbard is from Redcliffe in Brisbane, Queensland. During the 2011 floods and Cyclone Yasi, Jeff worked in 12 different evacuation and recovery centres from Chinchilla in the south to Cardwell in Far North Queensland. Since the flood waters have subsided, he has continued to volunteer with communities in and around the Lockyer Valley as part of the Red Cross floods recovery program.

Bruce Smith is from Bundoora in Melbourne, Victoria, and has played a leadership role in Red Cross outreach and personal support services to people impacted by the Black Saturday bushfires. Bruce continues to play an active role in Victorian communities affected by the bushfires as part of the long term recovery program of the Red Cross. He also worked in the State Inquiry Centre assisting people looking for information on friends and family during the Queensland and Victorian floods in 2011.

Find out about how to support Red Cross by volunteering or through donations.

For more information email James Molan or phone 0448 571 484.