FRV firefighters recognised in Australia Day Honours

Wednesday, 25 January 2023 at 9:42 pm

The service and dedication of Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) firefighters has been recognised in the 2023 Australia Day Honours List, announced today.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tony O’Day and Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Guy McCrorie have been awarded the prestigious Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in honour of their long history of service to the community.

Awarded by the Governor-General, the AFSM is bestowed twice a year on members of an Australian fire service who display distinguished service.

A huge congratulations also to Acting Station Officer David Rylance who has today been awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM) for his service to life saving. 

The ESM recognises distinguished service by members of emergency services across Australia, and people who are involved in emergency management, training or education.

Between them, Mr O'Day, Mr McCrorie and Mr Rylance have diligently served and protected the Victorian community for more than 96 years.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tony O’Day

Mr O'Day has made a significant contribution to the fire and rescue sector for more than three decades and has undertaken extended periods in senior leadership roles, including Acting Deputy Chief Officer at CFA and Acting Deputy Commissioner at FRV. He has attended many significant incidents, including the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

As a Level 3 Incident Controller and an endorsed Regional Controller, Mr O’Day has played a pivotal role during numerous emergencies across the state – most notably the significant bushfires in Gippsland in 2019.

During his time at CFA, Mr O’Day was promoted to Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Emergency Medical Response (EMR) and Wellbeing and introduced the crucial EMR capability. He also led the introduction of wellbeing programs, including CFA’s Peer Support Program for career firefighters.

Mr O'Day’s exceptional leadership qualities have proven instrumental in change management, and he has been acknowledged for his support and development of both career and volunteer brigades and his commitment to the health and wellbeing of firefighters.

Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Guy McCrorie

With more than 35 years’ experience, Mr McCrorie has a strong track record of working to improve fire safety within Victoria's diverse communities. His commitment and dedication to multicultural communities is held in high regard, and his work to develop and deliver critical home fire safety messaging has inspired other emergency services.

As a representative of the State Prison Fire and Emergency Management Committee, Mr McCrorie works closely with FRV’s partner organisations to ensure they are prepared for and able to prevent emergencies in Victoria’s prisons and was involved in the introduction of tamper proof sprinklers in juvenile detention centres.

Mr McCrorie has demonstrated extensive and exceptional service in the emergency management sector, including as an Incident Controller at large structural fires and Hazmat Incidents. He has attended major campaign fires as an operational firefighter and also held senior positions in Level 3 Incident Control Centres.

Acting Station Officer Mr David Anthony Rylance 

From 1991, Mr David Rylance has provided exceptional service to lifesaving through various roles including Elwood Life Saving Club President and Chief Instructor as well as a Director on Life Saving Victoria's (LSV) Board.

Throughout 29 years of patrol service, including as Patrol Captain, Mr Rylance has responded to numerous incidents and major first aid cases. This has included searches for missing persons, radio operations and water rescues in hazardous conditions. Mr Rylance's service has also included working in a group that merged the volunteer patrol operations of Royal Life Saving Australia Victoria Branch (RLSAV) and Surf Life Saving Victoria (SLSV).

Mr Rylance's operational duties with LSV span working as State Duty Officer, being the inaugural Chief Pilot of Life Saving Victoria's Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and working as a jet ski operator in LSVs Rescue Watercraft service.

Mr Rylance is responsible for training more than a thousand lifesavers who keep the state's beaches safe and instituted a program which sees high school students gain their Bronze Medallion. Mr Rylance's commitment to lifesaving has extended to state and national roles through LSV and Surf Life Saving Australia, including assisting in the development of Bronze Medallion training for lifesavers around the country.

Fire Rescue Victoria Commissioner Ken Block congratulated Mr Rylance, Mr O’Day and Mr McCrorie for their achievement in receiving these prestigious awards.

“The work of these three firefighters is inspiring, it is fantastic to see that they are being acknowledged for their service and dedication today,” Commissioner Block said.

“The Australian Fire Services Medal and Emergency Services Medal are prestigious awards and the recipients should be extremely proud of their achievements, as am I.”

To read the full citations, click here.