The Rapid Relief Team (RRT) lent a helping hand on Saturday 5 December at the official opening of the NSW RFS Memorial Playground in Telopea Park, Buxton.  The park was commissioned to honour the sacrifice of local firefighters and families during the 2019/2020 fire season. The memorial fire truck-themed playground also paid tribute to the memory of fallen NSW volunteer firefighters Andrew O’Dwyer and Geoffrey Keaton, who lost their lives in the Green Wattle Creek Bushfire last year.

Serving up burgers, barista-made coffees and drinks, RRT volunteers ensured every attendee was well fed and encouraged all donations to go towards the Keaton and O’Dwyer family trusts. On the day, RRT raised $2,500, and have matched this dollar for dollar, with a total of $5,000 being donated to the Keaton & O’Dwyer families.

The event saw special guests attend to support this noble cause, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor, RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and local RFS volunteers. Alongside government and civic representatives, the community gathered today in droves to celebrate O’Dwyer and Keaton’s service and support their families.

Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor said it was wonderful to see the community gather to pay tribute to the memory of Andrew O’Dwyer and Geoffrey Keaton.

“Last year we witnessed incredible firefighting and relief efforts by so many, our firefighters saved so many homes and properties, and it is important today that we stop and remember those firefighters and families who sacrificed so much,” Angus said.

RRT Local Team Leader, Ben Noble, said at the heart of what RRT does, their volunteers are driven by care and compassion.

“RRT was here serving frontline firefighters on the night tragedy struck 12 months ago, and we are humbled to be here again today,” he said.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to have made a small difference by making sure locals were fed well and much-needed funds could be raised today.

“We hope this park will serve as a fitting legacy to Andrew O’Dwyer and Geoffrey Keaton and their families, and to all the local volunteer firies who put their lives on the line each bushfire season,” he said.

RRT will continue to remember the sacrifices these men made, and all firefighters made to protect Australians and our land during the catastrophic bushfire season.

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