TWO decades of dedicated volunteer efforts have been recognised with an Australian Fire Service Medal.
Rudy Schuett, of Moonee Beach, joined the New South Wales Rural Fire Service as a volunteer member of the Moonee Rural Fire Brigade in 1995.
"When I first moved to Moonee Beach, the neighbour asked if I'd like to join the rural fire service and I've been volunteering ever since," Mr Schuett said.
He has been the Operational Support Officer since 2005, providing a vital service to all brigades and volunteers across the Mid North Coast Team.
"I was really surprised when I got the letter from the office of the Governor-General," he said.
The 76-year-old provides calm and effective leadership on the ground and has been an active contributor to significant bush fire campaigns that have affected New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria.
One of his greatest attributes is his ability to encourage and maintain strong teamwork across a range of members with differing backgrounds and values.
He spends many hours working on fleet and equipment, often travelling long distances to collect new vehicles, or to transport crews to out of area fire incidents.
Mr Schuett assists with vehicle recovery and conducts driver training for candidates to obtain their Medium Rigid licences.
Rural Fire Service trainees under Mr Schuett's tutelage have been very well prepped for the licence assessment.
Additionally, his knowledge of the local area is invaluable and augments his dedication and enthusiasm, which makes him a highly valued and respected volunteer fire fighter.