Australia Day honour for Thredbo fire captain

DAVID "Spike" Milliken is a very proud man. He has been the Captain at the Thredbo Fire Station for 21 years and on Saturday news broke that he is to receive the Australian Fire Services Medal as part of the annual Australia Day Honours.

During his career with Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) spanning 25 years, he has responded to hundreds of fires and rescues including leading the initial emergency response to the 1997 Thredbo landslide.

FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said Captain Milliken, was one of three FRNSW fire officers to receive the award.

"The Australian Fire Service Medal is one of the highest honours an Australian firefighter can receive and I am extremely proud of all the FRNSW recipients," he said.

"Captain Milliken is extremely well-respected by his peers in FRNSW but also by officers from other emergency services within the alpine region of NSW.

"On 30 July 1997, when 2000 cubic metres of mud and rock inundated the ski lodges at Thredbo, Captain Milliken coordinated and led the initial response to the landslide. He and his team were recognised for their tireless efforts, receiving a Unit Commendation for Meritorious Service."

Captain Milliken is also a professional ski patroller and works throughout the ski season treating injured skiers, performing rescues and assisting other emergency services. His knowledge and expertise in both firefighting and rescue operations in extreme weather conditions has been invaluable to FRNSW.

"Operating in an environment like Thredbo is unique, and Captain Milliken has used his knowledge of the area and his skills as a rescuer to help develop training packages for our firefighters," Commissioner Mullins said.

"Captain Milliken is a strong leader and manager, and has influenced the careers of volunteer and retained firefighters in and around Thredbo. He is a dedicated fire officer, always going above and beyond the call of duty and I congratulate him on this achievement."

Captain Milliken will be presented with his medal at a ceremony at Government House later in the year.

"I am very proud to receive this award on Australia Day," he said this week.

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