Firefighters formed a guard of honour for slain volunteer firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer who was finally put to rest in an emotional ceremony. O'Dwyer was killed in December last year along with Geoffrey Keaton when a truck rolled off and hit a tree while fighting a bushfire in Sydney's southwest.
O'Dwyer is remembered for being a proud New South Wales Rural Fire Service member and has repeatedly claimed that his greatest achievement in life is his young daughter Charlotte. RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons while addressing O'Dwyer's 19-month-old daughter said that Charlotte's father was a special and selfless man who is not with them because he was a hero.
After the funeral, all the firefighters there formed a guard of honour. O'Dwyer's body was loaded onto a vehicle and was watched over by dozens of fellow firefighters as it was driven away from Our Lady of Victories in Horsley Park. The funeral was also attended by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, state Emergency Services Minister David Elliott and federal Labor MP Chris Bowen.
There were many special moments today at the funeral for firefighter Andrew O’Dwyer, including a Haka as a sign of respect. This was organised by members of the Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade. #nswrfs pic.twitter.com/U6UkEMGp7z— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 7, 2020
Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, were in a truck convoy fighting blazes southwest of Sydney when a tree fell and caused the vehicle to roll off the road. The two men, both fathers to 19-month-old children, died at the scene while three other firefighters were injured and taken to a hospital.
Morrison said the two firefighters were “bravely defending their communities with an unmatched spirit and a dedication that will forever set them apart amongst our most courageous Australians”. “Their sacrifice and service saving lives and saving properties will be forever remembered. I wish those injured all the best in their recovery,” he added.