Members recognised in Australia Day Honours

The ACT Emergency Services Agency congratulates ACT Fire & Rescue Station Officer Gerald Muhldorff, ACT State Emergency Service Deputy Commander (Belconnen) Tristan Peemoeller and ACT State Emergency Service Deputy Commander (Pialligo) David Hatherly, who have been announced as recipients of the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM), the Emergency Services Medal (ESM) and the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) respectively in the 2024 Australia Day Honours.  
Mr Gerald Muhldorff 
Mr Gerald Muhldorff joined ACT Fire & Rescue (ACTF&R) on 12 June 1997 after having served nine years as a firefighter in the Royal Australian Navy. Mr Muhldorff joined with the first intake of lateral recruits inducted by ACTF&R. Throughout the past 26 years, Mr Muhldorff has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the study, training, and practice of fire investigation, specifically fire cause determination. 
Mr Muhldorff attained the rank of station officer on 7 September 2006, and continuously proves to be a valuable member of ACTF&R and ACT Emergency Services Agency. Whilst a firefighter, Mr Muhldorff undertook study in the field of fire investigation and subsequently worked as an investigator, and as the ACTF&R Fire Investigation Coordinator. He has maintained all operational requirements and training and still participates in active frontline operations on a regular basis. 
The role of a fire investigator is to establish fire cause and determination post fire, which can be an extremely complex science. Mr Muhldorff has proven to be an expert in this field and has represented ACTF&R on numerous occasions as an expert in courts of law. Mr Muhldorff has also excelled as an instructor and mentor for staff from ACTF&R, Australian Federal Police, and various other agencies. 
Due to his expertise and experience, Mr Muhldorff was selected to be a member of a joint service Australian contingent who were tasked with providing fire investigation training to military officers in Thailand and the Iraq Police service training conducted in Australia.  The science of fire investigation is to analyse the cause of a fire, to provide information and ultimately protection to operational crews through the outcomes of this investigation process. Comprehensive fire scene investigation determines fire behaviour which informs directly how operational crews contend with the incident scene. 
The work undertaken by Mr Muhldorff has significantly added to the safety of responding ACTF&R crews. Fire investigation is difficult, dirty, and exhausting work. The conditions encountered are hazardous in nature, and practitioners are required to undertake their work until a determination is made. This requires dedication and focus which Mr Muhldorff has demonstrated on many occasions. 
Mr Tristan Peemoeller 
Mr Tristan Peemoeller is a highly dedicated and valued member the ACT State Emergency Service (ACTSES). He unfailingly makes himself available to assist almost all SES calls for support, exceeding the volunteer obligation by 24 times of that required. His commitment to the ACT community is beyond question. 
Mr Peemoeller has served as a frontline volunteer since 2017, he has always maintained a high level of competence and availability to support the community all year round. Mr Peemoeller is a very proactive member of the ACTSES, and throughout his time has responded to requests for assistance during floods, storms, missing person searches, and supports in the coordination of training activities. In addition, he unfailingly makes himself available to assist on a wide range of tasks, including assisting in the welfare of his fellow volunteers. 
During the ACT Health response to COVID-19, his commitment was well above that requested by the ACTSES volunteers. He contributed multiple hours of service, participating in frontline operations, Incident Management Teams, and welfare and support activities. These activities included packaging food and supply packs for vulnerable communities, distribution of goods to ACT residents through the Canberra Relief Network, and delivery of school supplies and laptop computers to ACT students on behalf of ACT Education. Mr Peemoeller maintained his volunteer engagement through this difficult time, remaining operationally ready, when many did not. 
Mr Peemoeller continues to demonstrate an outstanding level of commitment to the ACTSES and its members, continuing to go above and beyond in every aspect of his volunteering. His leadership and commitment, especially in regard to community education, ensures the ACT can deliver its valuable service to the community. He is highly regarded by ACTSES volunteers and directly contributes to the ongoing development of the ACTSES into the professional organisation it is today. 
Mr David Hatherly 
Mr David Hatherly has a proud history of giving back to his community. He has volunteered with the ACT State Emergency Service’s Pialligo Unit since 2017, serving as a Deputy Commander there since 2020. His service to the ACTSES has also stretched beyond the ACT’s borders, with Mr Hatherly being a member of the service’s New South Wales Inland Capacity Support Unit since 2023. 
Mr Hatherly has also donated a significant amount of his time to the ACT branch of the Australian Red Cross, across several decades. He was a regular blood donor from 1968 all the way up to 2019. From 2006 to 2016 he volunteered for many of the charity's services, including Meals on Wheels, the Emergency Disaster Service and the Social Inclusions Program. Mr Hatherly was also a member of the ACT branch’s Divisional Board from 2012 to 2016. 
There are numerous sectors of Canberra’s community that have benefited, or continue to benefit, from Mr Hatherly’s volunteerism. He was the website manager for the University of the Third Age from 2017 to 2020, he is the current website manager for the Brindabella Community Orchestra, as well as a committee member there and the current trombone player. He plants trees for Greening Australia, is a guide for the National Capital Authority, volunteers for the CSIRO’s insect collection and herbarium, and was part of the Development Program for Australian Volunteers for International Development in 2011, 2013 and 2015. 
Mr Hatherly has previously been recognised with the National Emergency Medal (2021), the Australian Capital Territory Emergency Medal (2020), and a Long Service Award from the Australian Red Cross (2016).