Glen Innes' Charles MacLachlan or as he is better know 'Mac' has received a Public Service Medal in the Australia Day honours list.
Often seen playing his bagpipes at community ceremonies or events Mr MacLachan is a member of the Glen Innes Pipe band. However, he has been recognised for his contributions to to community outside of his musical abilities this year.
Especially the role he played behind the scenes last summer when devastating bushfires hit the region.
Mr MacLachlan has been awarded for his outstanding public service to local government in New South Wales, particularly during the emergency response to the 2019 bushfires.
As the technical services coordinator for the Glen Innes Severn Council he coordinated emergency services support for Glenn Innes and the surrounding New England region.
Through continual analysis of his surroundings, challenging decisions and providing considered and effective solutions, he improved the efficiency of the firefighting effort. His ability to provide leadership, integration and support across multiple agencies during this time was invaluable.
Mr MacLachlan was greatly appreciative of the award.
"I am very humbled by the award, because there is an awful lot of other hard working people at council and the control centre who were supporting me and doing a lot of work during the fires," he said.
During the fires developed and implemented effective systems within the Emergency Operations Centre to integrate communication between multiple agencies operating on different platforms. This enabled the dissemination of up-to-date information to all the stakeholders involved in supporting and resourcing the bush fire emergency efforts.
He facilitated the installation of a 200-person Rural Fire Services basecamp in Glen Innes and, despite level five water restrictions, he developed an alternate water supply (effluent reuse) and coordinated its transport for firefighting activities.
When VIPs and dignitaries visited the local area, he coordinated staff and resources for VIP transport at short notice and he also led the Glen Innes airport team supporting water-bomber operations, ensuring the airport was able to operate well beyond capacity.
Mr MacLachlan had a profound impact on colleagues and stakeholders alike as a source of encouragement and support during a time of unprecedented crisis.