BROGO Rural Fire Service volunteer Tamara Joukoff will join a group of volunteers from across NSW being saluted for their heroic efforts during the recent bushfires with a special voyage on board Queen Mary 2.
Ms Joukoff is one of eight RFS volunteers who have been randomly selected to join the two-night cruise from Brisbane to Sydney, which leaves today.
“I was very shocked when I heard, but obviously I feel very lucky,” Ms Joukoff said.
The RFS volunteer said she is “a relatively new” recruit who has been with the Brogo brigade for two years.
The hard-working NSW volunteers will join other “summer heroes” from Tasmania’s Fire Service, Victoria Country Fire Authority and Queensland State Emergency Services as the honoured guests of Cunard Line.
Queen Mary 2 is visiting Australia as part of her annual world voyage, which will see her complete her first circumnavigation of New Zealand.
Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks said Queen Mary 2’s Salute to the Summer Heroes would allow the community to acknowledge the volunteers as well as the overall contribution of volunteer organisations.
“Queen Mary 2 makes a huge impact wherever she goes and we are delighted she can play a part in marking the service and sacrifice of volunteers who routinely defend and protect their communities,” Mr Shanks said.
“It is humbling to know that emergency services volunteers risk everything to protect their communities in the most extreme conditions and they do it willingly year after year and sometimes at great personal cost.”
A mining consultant, Ms Joukoff said her experiences with the bushfires in January had been her first encounter with major fires since she joined the RFS.
“It was nerve wracking, but when I was called out on the first night shift, the person I was put with, a former captain of our brigade Steve Maginnity, mentored me – I learnt so much,” she said.
“Being on the fire ground was very physically demanding, but I felt very safe with the experienced volunteers I was working with.”