'I did what needed to be done' - student firefighter honoured

A 16-year-old who fought the devastating 2019 summer bushfires has received a prestigious award, writes Kathleen Ferguson.

13 August 2021
A male youth stands in from of a school building.
Image: Inspired: Nathan Hindmarsh.

Braidwood Central School’s Nathan Hindmarsh, who helped his community during the black summer fires, has been honoured by the NSW Rural Fire Service.

He was today named the NSW Secondary School Cadet of the Year.

“I am pretty proud, it’s a big award,” Mr Hindmarsh said.

The year 10 student started volunteering during the devastating bushfires of 2019/20.

He knew what he had to do then, and hasn’t looked back since.

“I wasn’t really scared, I just sort of did it, did what needed to be done,” he said.

The 16-year-old has been inspired to pursue a career in land management or emergency services after volunteering.

He has encouraged others to get involved with their local brigade if they can.

“Definitely get involved, it’s a great thing to do, you learn a lot,” he said.

Relieving deputy principal at Braidwood Central, Mick Wall, said the school was thrilled by Nathan’s achievement.

“We are extremely proud that the long running BCS cadet program has helped Nathan to pursue his interests as well as playing a role in keeping our community safe,” Mr Wall said.

“Over the 13 years of the cadet program, this is the second occasion that a student has been recognised as Cadet of the Year,” he said.

NSW RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said it was encouraging to see the engagement and commitment of young people in emergency-service volunteering.

“The effort and enthusiasm of young members in the NSW RFS is significant and these awards acknowledge their hard work, camaraderie and community participation,” Commissioner Rogers said.

“These young people have demonstrated the commitment and enthusiasm that ensure our great volunteer emergency services will go from strength to strength in coming years and I congratulate each of them on their well-deserved awards.”

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