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Fire Service Medal honour
Mike Teraci was bestowed an Australian Fire Service Medal in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Highest honour for life of service

WHEN a young Mike Teraci’s home was saved by volunteer firefighters in 1982, it sparked a passion in the then 16-year-old that would span the next 40 years.

The third generation Swan Valley resident, long-standing volunteer firefighter with both East and West Swan Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades and career firefighter was recognised this week with a Fire Service Medal, the highest meritorious service award in the Australian Fire Services.

“I remember when mum and dad’s house was under threat of fire and the volunteers were out there controlling the fire,” he said.

“I said to mum and dad I wouldn’t mind being a volunteer firefighter and dad knew someone in the brigade and that’s how I joined.”

Mr Teraci continues to volunteer in the brigade today alongside his full-time career as a Department of Fire and Emergency Service operational response division district officer.

“I love being out on the fire ground, managing incidents and working with volunteers, that’s my forte, that’s what I’m good at and I get great job satisfaction out of it,” he said.

“I love getting up in the morning and putting on my uniform and going to work.”

Before his career firefighting days, Mr Teraci’s working life started as an apprentice mechanic at Goldy Holden in Midland and later as a forensic officer in the police force where a posting at Midland allowed him to work closely with his volunteer brigade.

Mr Teraci has played a critical role in the response to a wide range of complex and challenging incidents, both on the ground and from DFES operations centres.

fire service medal

Picture: Lewis van Bommel Metro VFRS captain.

These include the MH370 air search, tropical cyclones Christine, Olwyn, Veronica and Seroja, the 2014 Parkerville bushfire, 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria and more recently the 2021 Red Gully and Wooroloo bushfires.

“They all leave their mark,” he said.

“But for me the 2009 Black Saturday fires was the most eye opening experience because it was such a huge fire with 173 deaths and all that.

“One of the communities was basically in full lockdown, still with dead bodies in situ and police had the roads blocked off.

“Because I was an ex forensics officer they let me go into this community.

“We drove into the middle of this town, the wind was blowing through and there was all this destruction.

“Just the enormous ferocity of that fire and the devastation and the destruction is probably one of the biggest ones that has always been in the back of my mind.”

City of Swan mayor David Lucas congratulated the 2021 Swan Citizen of the Year for his outstanding achievements.

“I would like to not only congratulate Mike on this terrific achievement, but thank him,” Cr Lucas said.

“Mike is one of our longest serving volunteers, starting his journey with East Swan Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade all the way back in 1982.

“Since then his knowledge and leadership has become highly valued, but it is his commitment, passion and dedication in which I am in awe of.”

Kalamunda Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service firefighter Alan Pugh also received the Fire Service medal for 48 years of service.

By Claire Ottaviano

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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