2023 King’s Birthday Honours


Six members of the ACT Emergency Services Agency have been recognised in the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours, announced by the Governor-General of Australia today. 

The awards celebrate a variety of accomplishments, but all recipients share common traits - including selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service. 

The 2023 Kings Birthday Honour recipients are: 

Mr Anthony Hill – ACTRFS – Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) 

Anthony (Tony) Hill joined the ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS), Rivers Brigade on 26 September 1991 following 3 years of volunteer service with the ACT State Emergency Service (ACTSES). Of Tony’s 32 years of service with the ACT Rural Fire Service, he has served more than 14 of these in frontline leadership roles including as Deputy Captain, Senior Deputy Captain and Captain. Mr Hill continues his service as a senior member of the ACTRFS spending most of his time helping to train and mentor the Brigade’s drivers.  

For more than 32 years, Mr Hill has worked tirelessly to improve the safety of volunteer firefighters by helping with the design, selection and procurement of bushfire fighting vehicles. Tony also volunteers considerable hours of his time to help to train other RFS members, in particular the use of new equipment and technology.  
Importantly, Mr Hill instructs and mentors ACTRFS and ACTSES volunteers in the safe use and operation of heavy bushfire fighting tankers. Tony has played a major role ensure the ACTRFS maintains a high professional standard for heavy vehicle drivers within the service. 

Mr Hill has attended most, if not all, of the significant bushfires across the Canberra region and Australia since 1991, including the Victorian bushfires in 2016 and 2009, Canberra bushfires in 2002 and 2003 and he contributed more than 500 hours of service on firegrounds across Australia in the 2019/20 bushfire season. 

Tony is very generous with providing his time for other members of his brigade and the wider service. This dedication to the ACTRFS and our Community over a 30-year career, is testament to the character and professional volunteer that Tony Hill is. 

Mr Glenn Brewer – ACT Fire and Rescue – Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) 

Mr Glenn Brewer has maintained the highest levels of commitment and professionalism to ensure that ACT Fire and Rescue is a sustainable, inclusive and modern fire service.  

His work on key projects has ensured that ACT Fire and Rescue keeps pace in a rapidly evolving industry and that firefighter and community safety is at the heart of his drive for excellence. He has 20 years of dedicated service with ACT Fire and Rescue as an operational frontline firefighter and now leads the implementation of key infrastructure, fleet and technological projects which are shaping the future of ACT Fire and Rescue including the electrification of the firefighting fleet, all whilst maintaining his skills as an operational firefighter.  

Mr Brewer's continued enthusiasm and dedication has ensured that future generations of firefighters are as safe as possible in a dynamic and sometimes dangerous career. He was involved in the aftermath of the devastating Canberra bushfires in 2003, assisted with the Morwell coal mine fire in Victoria in 2014, and most recently with the 2019/20 bushfires in the ACT.  

Mr Brewer has also dedicated himself to assisting firefighters internationally through his role as Pacific Island Liaison Officer where he has worked with the Republic of Vanuatu to improve firefighter safety and capability. He played a leading role in the coordination of support to Vanuatu Fire Service, including the provision of training, technical advice, and equipment.  

Mr Brewer's continued enthusiasm for innovation and change has seen him embrace his leadership role with ACT Fire and Rescue where he continues to influence the direction of the service and the continued high quality service provided to the community. 

Ms Michelle Blewitt – ACTAS – Ambulance Service Medal (ASM)  

Ms Michelle Blewitt commenced her career with the ACT Ambulance Service in 1989. Since then, she has served most of her career in frontline operational roles, including as an on-road intensive care paramedic and flight intensive care paramedic. She is currently serving as Manager, Aeromedical Operations and Retrievals.  

During her career, Ms Blewitt has delivered key initiatives and industry firsts. These have included: a support program for elderly members of the community suffering falls in their home; and the design and delivery of an education and awareness program to address a newly emerging trend at the time - drink spiking. This involved focused community messaging and direct support to vulnerable groups in the community. She has also participated in aeromedical missions including during the 1998 Sydney to Hobart disaster.  

More recently, Ms Blewitt has designed and implemented the framework, processes, and procedures to safely sustain aeromedical services within the ACT and surrounding region prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in the aeromedical capability continuing to deliver patient retrieval services with minimal risk to the patient, flight paramedics, doctors, and pilots. She has made significant improvements to the road retrieval capability which can be used when flight operations are not possible.  

Ms Blewitt has exemplified the personal values and behaviours expected of those charged with the care of community members at their most vulnerable time. She has made a significant contribution to community safety and wellbeing initiatives during her more than 33 year career, particularly during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms Blewitt has, and continues to, serve the ACT Ambulance Service and those community members under her care with respect and distinction. 

Mrs Marlana Butters – ACTSES – Emergency Services Medal (ESM)  

Mrs Marlana Butters has been a volunteer member of the ACT State Emergency Service (ACTSES) since February 2004. Since joining the ACTSES she has held several key volunteer positions, being Team Leader, Training Officer and Deputy Commander. Marlana is an active volunteer providing diligent and effective service through countless callouts such as storm, flood, searches, and support to fires.  

She has deployed to interstate emergencies for storms and floods in NSW and Grantham in 2011 for body recoveries, receiving the National Emergency Medal for Significant Service. As a Sector Leader in the ACT 2020 hailstorm event Incident Management Team, she was integral in the coordination of teams attending to ‘requests for assistance’.  

Marlana has a passion for keeping the Community safe and actively volunteers to be a representative for ACTSES and leading teams at Community Events. As the Deputy Commander of the Majura SES Unit, Marlana is an advocate for bringing volunteers on a learning journey to ensure that they are comfortable and confident with their skills and knowledge.  

Marlana is held in high regard across the membership of the ACTSES where her commendable leadership and exceptional experience are second to none. Her driven ability to strive for excellence in all she is involved in has brought credit to the ACTSES in keeping the ACT and broader Community safe.  

Marlana’s great strength comes from she seeks to develop others and empower them to use and develop their skills. Marlana has been a trusted adviser to many in her Majura Unit, and the wider ACTSES and is an incredibly well-respected member of the service. 

Mr Jason Jones – ACTESA – Emergency Services Medal (ESM)  

Following a career as a NSW Police Officer, Mr Jones commenced with ACT Fire and Rescue in 2002 as an operational firefighter where he attended incidents such as structure fires and motor vehicle accidents putting himself in harm's way to protect the community.  

Mr Jones was an ACT Fire and Rescue firefighter during the 2003 Canberra bushfires and was also called upon to support the ACT Rural Fire Service, ACT State Emergency Service, and ACT Policing at various emergency incidents. Through various roles in ACT Fire and Rescue, Mr Jones led crews at incidents where he took control of each incident his crew attended including maintaining situational awareness and the health and safety of crew members. 

Throughout his extensive emergency response career, Mr Jones has managed complex, sensitive and multi-jurisdictional emergency incidents. One example was his active participation in the ACT Incident Management Team (IMT) established to control the 2019-20 bushfires in the ACT and surrounding regions. As a member of the IMT, he is an integral part of managing a major emergency incident and he ensures a coordinated response and approach to the management of the incident. In addition to his role in the IMT, as the Director of Logistics within the ACT Emergency Services Agency, Mr Jones led a team to support frontline firefighters with the delivery of critical operational supplies to fire grounds, staging areas and support to aviation assets.  

Throughout the past two years Mr Jones has been an instrumental player in leading the ACT Emergency Services Agency response to and management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coordinated by Mr Jones, ESA has supported ACT Health, and other areas of the ACT Government with the provision of contact tracing, compliance checks, welfare support at testing sites, the delivery of goods to vulnerable members of the community and the procurement and supply of locally distilled hand sanitiser, all whilst maintaining the duties of his current role. 

Mr Howard Wren – ACTAS – Public Service Medal (PSM) 

For outstanding public service to public health and leading the ACT Ambulance Service through the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Howard Wren is the Chief Officer of the ACT Ambulance Service. He is a highly respected member of the ACT Emergency Services Agency Executive Team and highly regarded by his workforce. Mr Wren displays a consistent high level of leadership and dedication to the service and his peers. During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Mr Wren provided a level-headed way of thinking and flexibility to maintain his workforce whilst also contributing to the ACT Government COVID Response. 

Mr Wren has been a key leader within the ACT Emergency Services Agency for all elements of the Agency’s support to the ACT community in relation to the whole of government COVID-19 response. Through his direct actions, the ACT Ambulance Service was able to sustain business-as-usual operations and maintain emergency response times, maintain the health and wellbeing of the workforce, provide strategic input into the broader Government response to the pandemic, and ensure staff were informed and engaged by being a key information conduit during the pandemic. 

During the 2021 ACT lockdown, Mr Wren worked alongside his peers within the ACT Health Emergency Control Centre, as well as alongside other ACT Emergency Services Agency Senior Officers, to provide planning and outbreak control support to Public Health officials. Mr Wren worked to ensure that the ACT response arrangements were as effective as possible, all whilst prioritising the health, safety, and wellbeing of frontline paramedics.  

Because of Mr Wren’s unwavering, professional and compassionate leadership, combined with his dedication to keeping the community safe and making sure that his staff were well supported, the ACT Ambulance Service continues to be one of the best performing Ambulance Services in Australia.