"MISSION accomplished" says former Grafton SES officer Bryan Robins following the announcement of a date for a ceremony to recognise the volunteers who responded to the Cowper bus crash.
Mr Robins, who was the SES executive officer with Grafton City SES in 1989, has been fighting SES and government bureaucracy for two years to get the ceremony across the line.
"I'm happy for the volunteers and grateful for what's been approved," he said.
"I believe the news will be well received in the wider community and do a power of good for the volunteers and their loved ones.
"It's something that's long overdue, but I would have to say wiser heads have now prevailed."
Mr Robins said 30 volunteers, plus next of kin representing two who have died, will attend the ceremony.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said that the NSW Premier had agreed, without hesitation, to award individual volunteers with a Premier's Award. Individual plaques will also be given to both Grafton and Maclean SES Units.
Mr Gulaptis said Mr Robins approached him last year to help his campaign for individual recognition of the volunteers.
"I didn't hesitate to support Bryan in his efforts. I hold these volunteers in the highest regard and personally thanking them for what they did on this horrific day is the right thing to do.
"These men and women are volunteers; ordinary members of our community who put their hands up to help their fellow man and who were thrust into the most unimaginable disaster.
"They did extraordinary things at the expense of their own health and welfare and personally recognising them for their bravery and courage is the least we can do to say thank you."
Mr Gulaptis said a special ceremony to present individual volunteers with their awards will be held the day prior to the 25th anniversary of the Cowper bus tragedy on Sunday, October 19 at 2pm at the Cowper Catholic Church Hall.
A Service of Remembrance is also planned on the morning of the anniversary, which is being organised by Clarence Valley Council and the local Ministers' Fraternal.
Mr Robins thanked Mr Gulaptis and his staff for everything they have done to ensure the volunteers get the awards they deserve.
"I would like to give special thanks to The Daily Examiner," he said.
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