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Selfless Hunter firefighter receives wonderful ‘surprise’

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A self-sacrificing Hunter Valley senior firefighter has received a wonderful, and unlikely, surprise from his peers.

Steve Cox was temporarily operating out of a station in Kurri Kurri on 16 October when neighbours rang him to warn a wall of flames was bearing down in his Girvan home.

The 60-year-old raced back to his property, about 10.4km from Stroud, as his wife Lyne gathered their dogs in her vehicle and drove through the inferno to escape.

But, the intensity of the blaze meant there was nothing Mr Cox could do to save their dream home.

Nor, the dozen treasured Holden cars he’d spent years restoring.

Despite his predicament, he jumped into a nearby NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) truck and helped save three neighbouring properties from the bushfire.

Sadly, among Mr Cox’s lost possessions were his valued Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) service medals.

That disappointment was pushed to the side last week when Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell summoned him, along with Lyne and mother Barbara, to his Mayfield West Fire Station posting.

There, the FRNSW leader presented the delighted 33-year firefighting veteran with replacement medallions.

“Steve is the epitome of a selfless firefighter,” Commissioner Fewtrell said.

“To disregard the destruction of everything you own to help others takes a special kind of person.

“We are very proud of Steve’s courage and dedication to duty.

“So, we leapt at the chance to help him on behalf of the community and his colleagues.”

The touching moment meant a lot to Mr Cox.

“I’m very proud to receive this gesture,” he said.

“We will go onto rebuild our lives but I never thought I’d see the likes of my fire medals again.”

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