David Leigh, of Kiama, has been awarded the Emergency Service Medal (ESM) in recognition of his exemplary commitment to the safety of his local community and to the work of the NSW SES.
Mr Leigh has been a member of the NSW State Emergency Service for 25 years.
As local controller of the NSW SES Kiama Unit he developed a wide range of highly skilled leaders who have, in turn, mentored new leaders.
He presently serves as a volunteer administration officer providing support to the unit commander and unit management team.
During his appointment as local controller Mr Leigh developed an excellent working relationship with Kiama Municipal Council.
It resulted in the council funding and building a state-of-the-art, purpose built SES Unit and Emergency Operations Centre.
He also worked with Kiama council to plan a strategic and ongoing upgrade of facilities and equipment, including getting council to undertake the provision of additional rescue and logistics vehicles.
As well as the construction of additional garage bays to house vehicles and rescue equipment.
Mr Leigh continues to assist and coordinate NSW SES in community events such as the Kiama ANZAC Parade and associated services, as well as the Gerringong Christmas Street Parade.
Prior to moving to Kiama, he made a significant contribution to communities in Warren and Lithgow as a rescue volunteer with their respective Volunteer Rescue Association units.
Mr Leigh said it was a very humbling experience to be recognised in such a way.
"Awards like this are not possible without the people who you work with. And who are so willing to do things for you when you are in a leadership position.
"I have worked with some exceptional members of the SES over the years. I am amazed that I would get an award like this when there are so many other worthy people out there".
Mr Leigh said he joined when he was young and single and thought it was an adventurous thing to do that would help the community.
In the process he found it was something her was particularly suited to.
"I enjoyed it and I guess it is part of my philosophy to try and do things for other people as well," he said.
"There are challenges but I am always working with a great bunch of people.
While he retired as unit controller five years ago Mr Leigh is still an active member of the SES and is involved in road crash and rescue work and other call outs such as storms and floods.
His day job was working for Kiama Municipal Council who he said was very supportive of the SES.
"They certainly allowed me the time to do the SES activities and managing, supervising and controlling activity".