Last Friday, Fortem staff and a number of personnel from NSW emergency service agencies attended a thank you barbeque hosted by the His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley at Government House in Canberra.
Highlights of the day included a short but very stirring talk by Mr Greg Salway from NSW RFS where he spoke about the importance of taking mental fitness seriously and seeking support during hard times.
The Governor-General gave a short speech, offering a heartfelt thanks to those in attendance for their efforts during the Black Summer fires and their everyday devotion to duty and to their families. He also stressed the wonderful efforts of first responders in dealing with flooding in NSW and cyclones in WA over recent weeks.
Another highlight was a rousing performance of ‘the Fortem song’ by Mrs Hurley, where she paid tribute to first responders and the work being done by Fortem to support them. The singing was particularly popular with the children in attendance.
Following the speeches and singing, attendees had a chance to peruse the Governor-General’s residence, commonly referred to as ‘Yarralumla’ (which sports some interesting historical items and iconic Australian artworks) before making their way to the back lawn of Yarralumla for a barbeque lunch.
During lunch, attendees had the opportunity to chat with Mr and Mrs Hurley. Conversations were a great opportunity to discuss the latest events in communities across NSW, to share experiences and stories and make new mates.
A few of the families took advantage of the superb weather, to enjoy a hit of school holiday backyard cricket on the lawns.
On the whole, the occasion was a great opportunity for first responders and their families to be thanked for their wonderful work, while enjoying some much-needed family time (and a stress-free lunch) during the school holidays.
Safe to say, the day was a great success for all involved!