The inaugural Victorian Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards were held on Saturday 16 September.

They are community-nominated awards and based on the reputation of the personnel from their local community's viewpoint.

The awards program recognises outstanding community service of paid and volunteer members of Victorian emergency services, and supports Emergency Services Mental Health Research in partnership with Emergency Services Foundation.

Congratulations to the eleven finalists who were nominated by their community and peers.

The 2023 winners are:

  • Tyson Taylor (Operational Firefighter, FRV) – Rotary Victoria emergency service officer of the year serving in a paid capacity 

As an Operational Firefighter with FRV and an Army Officer with nearly 17 years of service, Tyson is a dedicated pillar of his community. He played a pivotal role in harmonising fire services, mentoring in cultural differences and firefighting practices. Tyson's commitment extends to educating through filmed packages for new FRV fire stations. 

Tyson is a Volunteer Governor of Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance, a Veteran Mentor with RSL Victoria, and a researcher with the Emergency Services Foundation. His community contributions include delivering Teddy Bears to kids with cancer, raising funds for Camp Quality and providing aid to the Royal Children's Hospital.

  • Graham Symons (CFA Omeo) - Rotary Victoria emergency service officer of the year serving in a volunteer capacity 

Graham's service spans various roles, including Omeo Fire Brigade member for over 40 years, Captain for over 10 years, and Ambulance Victoria Community Officer for 33 years. Graham has also served on the committees for the Omeo Recreation Reserve, Omeo & District Agricultural & Pastoral Society, Omeo Shire Lions Club and Livingstone Park Development Committee. He has been the RSL organiser for Remembrance services for over 10 years and is the CFA Group Officer and Omeo Fire Brigade Group delegate.

Tyson and Graham will be invited to the National Awards Ceremony event at Government House in Canberra where two National winners will be announced. 

Pictured: Kate Fitzgerald (EMV), Tyson Taylor (FRV), Tony Pearce (IGEM) and Graham Symons (CFA)