Phil Baer recognised with life membership to fire service body

Phillip Baer APM AFSM has received life membership to the NSW Rural Fire Service Association.
Phillip Baer APM AFSM has received life membership to the NSW Rural Fire Service Association.

Volunteer rural firefighter, Phillip Baer APM AFSM, has received life membership to the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA).

Mr Baer said he was excited to be named a life member.

His life membership was presented during a ceremony at the RFSA Conference 2021 on June 5.

"It was very humbling too, just to think people thought enough of what I think as my meager efforts. that they nominated me and the board agreed," he said.

"The RFSA is not an industrial union, so it had no industrial powers, but it represents all the members both the salaried and volunteers and gives everyone a voice that otherwise might not be heard.

"Through the branch structure into the division structure, then into state council, the board and the various consultative committees between the RFSA and RFS it's a way of looking after the members, their health, safety and welfare.

"We have a grants program, a professional development program, we sponsor a lot of the RFS training events and major conferences like we've just had and spend a lot of money looking after the mental health of members through counselling and family days.

"It's a most worthwhile organisation and one I'm quite pleased to give my time too," he said.

A member of the Frogmore Rural Fire Brigade, Mr Baer has been involved in the RFS for more than 65 years and campaigned on behalf of his fellow rural firefighters for more than 20 years.

Since 2002 Mr Baer has held various RFSA representative positions including Delegate and later, Chair of the South West Slopes Branch, Division 8 Delegate to the RFSA State Council and NSW RFS/RFSA Consultative Committee representative.

RFSA President Brian McDonough described Mr Baer as a worthy recipient of Life Membership.

"Life Member is the highest award the RFSA can bestow, and is presented sparingly to those who have made a significant, quality and sustained contribution. Phillip's contribution is wide-ranging from his thoughtful input to meetings, to his on-the-ground assistance at events.

"He represents his fellow volunteers with passion, always seeking a desirable outcome that will be of benefit to all.

"His distinguished service to his community, the NSW RFS and RFSA has not only acquired him the respect of his peers, but also the greater community.

"It is these qualities that make Phillip worthy of the RFSA 'Life Member' award and we are thankful for his inspirational commitment to ensuring the well-being of all members is maintained and preserved."

Mr Baer said he would love to see more members of the community involved in the RFS and the RFSA.

"The RFS is a forward looking organisation and always trying to develop," he said.

"And the RFSA is very much a member orientated organisation and carries our voice to both the RFS and government.

"So I always encourage people to join, but it is a matter of choice and what time people have available to them.

"People are time poor and you can understand that, but if they wish to do something for the community that is well rewarded in terms of personal satisfaction in having helped, the RFS is as good as any agencies available."