VOLUNTEER marine rescue commander Bernie Gabriel of Tweed Heads South has been awarded the Emergency Services Medal for his contribution to emergency rescue services,
"It's very nice to get this sort of recognition," he said.
"I'm pleased to accept it also on behalf my fellow members."
Mr Gabriel is a doer.
He has never been a paper-pusher.
His distinguished involvement with volunteer marine rescue stretches back to 1965 when he became a foundation member of Air Sea Rescue (ASR) Tweed Heads, serving the Twin Towns region on the Queensland and NSW border.
As a mainline skipper for more than 20 years, he took part in many rescue operations, particularly on the hazardous Tweed River bar and assisted countless skippers who found themselves in trouble on the water.
He also held the position of chief controller for more than 11 years, chief training officer and vice-president of ASR for 14 years.
When Marine Rescue NSW was formed in 2009, amalgamating the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association, Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol and Volunteer Rescue Association marine fleet, the Point Danger unit joined the new organisation.
Mr Gabriel has been the unit commander of Marine Rescue Point Danger for over 13 years.
He has steered his unit through this period, attracting new members and committed sponsors, maintaining training and vessel standards and overseeing high-quality facilities.
He and his executive have worked tirelessly to ensure the service was capable of meeting the needs of the local boating community on both sides of the border.