Geoffrey Keaton was one of the two firefighters who lost their lives in the blazing fire, fighting the Green Wattle Creek fire in South West Sydney on 19th December. He was part of the 68-member Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade and had been decorated for 10 years of service at the Rural Fire Service (RFS).
Unfortunately, Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer were killed when a tree fell into the path of their tanker, causing it to roll.
For his brave service, Keaton was awarded a posthumous Commendation for Bravery and Service by RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons at his funeral held at the Pinegrove Memorial Park in Minchinbury on 2nd January 2020.
And the medal was awarded to his nineteen-month-old son, Harvey Keaton. The poignant moment was captured on camera and soon was shared by netizens all around the world.
The bravery commendation recognises “courage under hazardous circumstances”, while the service honour recognises “outstanding actions.”
Harvey was dressed in a child-size RFS uniform and stood still with a pacifier in his mouth as Fitzsimmons kneeled in front of him and pinned the medal to his shirt.
The #NSWRFS farewelled one of our own today, Geoffrey Keaton, one of two firefighters who lost their lives fighting fires on 19 December 2019. @RFSCommissioner Fitzsimmons honored Geoffrey today by posthumously awarding him Commissioner’s Commendations for Bravery and Service. pic.twitter.com/VFeZMxNuJq
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 2, 2020
The funeral was attended by hundreds of people including Keaton’s fiancee Jess Hayes, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Corrections and Acting Emergency Services Minister Anthony Roberts.
“It was important to be able to honour his great sacrifice and his tremendous service,” Morrison told reporters following the funeral.
We wish and pray that no other firefighters lose their lives in the deadly fires ravaging Australia.1
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