2024 King’s Birthday Honours

Three members of the ACT Emergency Services Agency have been recognised in the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours, announced by His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd) today.
The awards celebrate a variety of accomplishments, but all recipients share common traits - including selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service.
The 2024 Kings Birthday Honour recipients are:
Mr Michael Blaseotto – ACTRFS – Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM)
Mr Michael Blaseotto commenced volunteering with the ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS) in 2001. During his 22 years he has held the role of Equipment officer, Training officer, Deputy Captain, Senior Deputy Captain, Captain and Vice President. In addition, he has led the brigade through undoubtably the most challenging fire season (2019 – 2020 fire season).
Since joining the ACTRFS, Mr Blaseotto has been a committed and dedicated volunteer, exceeding all expectations through his operational, community education, volunteer training and strategic contribution.
Mr Blaseotto has extensive experience on the fireground both locally and across borders, including the Canberra Christmas fires in 2001, the Canberra fires in 2003, and the Canberra 2019-2020 fires where he was Captain of the Guises Creek brigade and coordinated their response, while also serving on the front line. He has deployed to Victoria, NSW and QLD as required, and undertaken roles as Incident controller and ACT Liaison Officer.
For a number of years, Mr Blaseotto used his operational knowledge to help inform and run multiple training courses for new and emerging volunteers as well as organise the Fire and Emergency Service Field Activity (FESTA). FESTA was an ACTRFS/State Emergency Service three-day event where volunteers were put through a range of scenarios to support capability development. Due to Mr Blaseotto’s efforts, these were well received and helped with growing operational capability across the Services. Mr Blaseotto’s work in facilitating collaborative field activities also generated inter-service morale, and strengthened rapport across informal and formal networks.
Further to firefighting and training initiatives, Mr Blaseotto always demonstrates his passion for community engagement and education to help enhance the safety and overall emergency preparedness of Canberrans, especially those living in rural areas.
Mr Blaseotto genuinely demonstrates what it means to be a committed leader who cares about giving back to his community. Nominations are now open for the Meritorious Awards to be announced as part of the King’s Birthday Honours in 2024.
Mr Colin O’Rourke – ACTF&R – Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM)
Commander O’Rourke has been involved in various frontline operations throughout an extensive career with ACT Fire and Rescue (ACTF&R) spanning over 35 years. Commander O’Rourke was particularly instrumental in responding to major bushfires in 1994, 2001, 2003, 2011, 2019/20, where he placed himself in harm’s way to protect the communities of the ACT and region with distinction.
Commander O’Rourke has also held a range of brigade and service leadership positions during his time as a firefighter, Station Officer, and Commander.
In particular, Commander O’Rourke’s tenure as the Commander of ACTF&R Training Delivery and Skills Maintenance, helped facilitate the highest training standards, avidly ensuring each individual participant was developed to their full potential, while ensuring the organisation’s capability continued to be enhanced.
Today, after 44 years of combined dedicated service to the community in front line operational firefighting roles, Commander O’Rourke continues to maintain the highest professional standards, ensuring the service’s emergency preparedness and capability is held in the highest regard. Commander O’Rourke has dedicated nearly three quarters of his life to continuous improvement and professional development in all aspects of firefighting operations, and community resilience.
Ms Joanne Miles – ACTAS – Ambulance Service Medal (ASM)
Ms Joanne Miles has demonstrated exceptional clinical and management experience in the provision of clinical care to the community and training to colleagues during her 21 years with the ACT Ambulance Service. 
Her career is complemented with a sustained dedication and commitment to patient-centred care and clinical excellence, both operationally and at a management level. This has seen the realisation of key initiatives supporting improved patient experience and clinical outcomes for those coming into the care of the ACT Ambulance Service. 
As a Training and Development Officer, Ms Miles has consistently imparted career experience and tertiary learnings with colleagues. Her commitment to the professional development of operational members has seen many go on to teach and champion clinical excellence within the broader workforce. 
Ms Miles was the first female driving standards instructor in the ACT Ambulance Service, blazing a path for women aspiring additional career progression and opportunity. This has seen Ms Miles mentor many other officers and be held in high regard as a role model for sound leadership. 
As an Operations Manager, Ms Miles has overseen the realisation of operational and clinical efficiencies. These have included improvements in the delivery of Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services, Extended Care Paramedic Program and the Driving Standards Program. 
Ms Miles regularly fills front line supervisory shifts, as well as shifts exercising her skill set as an Intensive Care Paramedic delivering front line clinical care to the community. This ensures she maintains her hands-on clinical skills and connection to frontline members. 
Ms Miles is a consummate professional, committed to the highest ethical and professional standards. Her personal values and behaviours reflect a collaborative and humble leader and female role model. She is driven to continually improve clinical excellence, and the delivery of patient-centred care by the ACT Ambulance Service.
Congratulations to all those recognised in these honours.