Angus Barnes, NSW RFS Operational Officer, Far South Coast

My name is Inspector Angus Barnes, Operational Officer, Far South Coast, for the NSW Rural Fire Service and I commend John Appleby, Regional Manager of Coles Supermarkets, for his dedication and support for the RFS and the community of the Far South Coast, during the unprecedented and catastrophic bushfires of 2020.

During what was the longest and most destructive fire event we have ever experienced, John worked tirelessly to support the RFS, and facilitated the donation of more than $50,000 in much needed food and supplies for our weary fire fighters, other emergency services and the community.

John and his team also made packed lunches for the firefighting crews, provided daily logistical support also facilitating staff to work through the night so that our crews could be provided with fresh food around the clock. Not only did John assist the RFS field crews, he simultaneously provided nursing homes, evacuation centres, the Incident Management Team, Police and members of the community that needed help, with food and supplies, during a time when the town had no other supermarket or shop open.

With fires raging around Batemans Bay, no power and all major roads blocked, John overcame adversity and continued to help the RFS and his community when they needed it the most.