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Firefighter honored for ‘extraordinary rescue efforts’ at FRI

Captain Kendall Thompson named winner of the 2011 International Benjamin Franklin Fire Service Award for Valor


Photo Jamie Thompson
Captain Kendall Thompson (right) stands alongside NSW Assistant Commissioner Keith Harrap, as IAFC President Jack Perow prepares to hand over the award.

A firefighter who helped rescue more than 45 people trapped during record-breaking flooding in Queensland, Australia, this year was honored at Fire-Rescue International on Thursday.

Captain Kendall Thompson, of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, was named winner of the 2011 International Benjamin Franklin Fire Service Award for Valor during the ceremony.

The award recognizes firefighters around the world for their expert training, leadership, heroic actions and safe practices.

Capt. Thompson was the “down-the-wire” crewman on the rescue helicopter HeliTak 220 in the 48-period hour period after flash floodwaters rushed down Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, stranding hundreds of people in their wake on Jan. 10.

He was praised for his “unflinching courage” in helping to make the rescues of citizens in their homes or on their roofs, surrounded by the raging floodwaters.

“Captain Thompson’s tremendous contributions to this extraordinary rescue effort certainly make him worthy of this award,” said Chief Jack Parow, IAFC president and chairman of the board 2010-2011.

Jackie Wasni, vice president of Sales and Services, Motorola Solutions, which co-sponsors the award, said, “Each year, we are inspired by the stories of courage and humbled by the acts of bravery.”

NSW Assistant Commissioner Keith Harrap, who nominated Capt. Thompson, said, “Had it not been for Captain Thompson’s willingness to place himself at risk, a number of people would have perished in the floodwaters.”