Well-respected Denman Fire and Rescue NSW captain Gavin Bray awarded nation's highest honour, the Australian Fire Service Medal

HIGHEST HONOUR: Denman Fire and Rescue NSW captain Gavin Bray has been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
HIGHEST HONOUR: Denman Fire and Rescue NSW captain Gavin Bray has been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

HE'S modest, well-respected in the community and goes about his business with little fanfare.

So, it will be no surprise to anyone that Denman Fire and Rescue NSW captain Gavin Bray's 23-year commitment to protecting people - and mentoring firefighters - in the area was recognised in Monday's Queen's Birthday Honours.

He has been awarded the highest honour an Australian firefighter can receive, the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM).

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Paul Baxter congratulated Captain Bray, who is one of four FRNSW firefighters to receive the prestigious medal in 2019.

"Gavin has played a vital role in transforming Denman Fire Station into a modern-day emergency service, leading our response to fires, road accidents and other emergencies and dedicating countless hours to recruiting and mentoring new retained firefighters," he said.

Joining FRNSW as a retained (on-call) firefighter in 1996, Captain Bray was promoted to the top position at Denman Fire Station in 2015.

"When I found out I 'was in', I was holidaying around Mt Isa," he said.

"We were staying at a caravan park and, on the first night, the alarm sounded at the nearby [fire] station.

"My wife turned to me and asked 'Is that what we're in for?'

"We used to get four to five calls a month - now we receive the same amount, and more, each week."

Captain Bray has been a leader in maintaining the road crash rescue capability of the station, which has helped give casualties of road accidents in the Denman area the best possible chance of survival.

He was also a key figure in the Community First Responder (CFR) program, which has seen Denman firefighters trained by NSW Ambulance to provide lifesaving medical care at emergencies in the local area.

Denman Fire and Rescue NSW captain Gavin Bray received a certificate to acknowledge his nomination for the Commissioners Safety Award in 2017.

Denman Fire and Rescue NSW captain Gavin Bray received a certificate to acknowledge his nomination for the Commissioners Safety Award in 2017.

In 2017, he received his 1st Clasp for long service and good conduct medal, as well as a certificate to acknowledge his nomination for the Commissioners Safety Award.

That presentation caught Captain Bray completely by surprise.

"Gavin is a tireless leader who continually puts his crew and the community first," Commissioner Baxter said.

"He's ensured that emergency response is provided by a well-trained, passionate and motivated team of firefighters who are prepared for anything.

"He has achieved all of this while maintaining his primary employment and being a father to six children and a husband to Kim.

"Gavin is a most worthy recipient of this Queen's Birthday Honour."

Captain Bray will be presented with his AFSM at a ceremony later in the year.