Silverdale resident and Wollondilly citizen of the year Barbara Jolley has been praised by the Blue Mountains Local Health District for her selfless work during the recent bushfire season.
Ms Jolley is a volunteer firefighter with the RFS and also works as a clinical nurse consultant in Nepean Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.
The passionate local to look from her job in order to protect her community.
"I can't thank the district enough in supporting me, and other colleagues who were volunteers, to help battle those fires," Ms Jolley said.
"Not a second thought was given, they said 'do what you have to do, stay safe and let us know how we can help'.
"To be quite honest, being a nurse and a firefighter are not too dissimilar.
"Your responsibilities are one and the same.
"In the hospital, or on the fire ground, you need to have exceptional situational awareness, be proficient in providing quality care and lead by example."
Ms Jolley spent six weeks fighting fires, including the Green Wattle Creek blaze, and said she always felt well supported by her colleagues.
She described the devastating blaze which ripped through Wollondilly towns including Orangeville, Oakdale, Buxton, Tahmoor and Bargo as "the beast that wouldn't lay down".
Her crew, which she captains, was even 'over run' by the fire one day, with flames literally running over the cop of firies. They took shelter in the firetruck.
"In the firetruck cabin designed to seat five, there was seven firefighters, a local resident and his dog," Ms Jolley said.
"Literally, it was every man and his dog.
"Thankfully we all made it through, including the dog."
Ms Jolley has been volunteering with the Silverdale RFS for the past 18 years.
Health district chief executive Kay Hyman said she was moved by the stories of her firefighting staff, including Ms Jolley.
"This summer has been devastating for so many, including those in our district," she said.
"I'm humbled by the community's response, including our colleagues, who have rallied to fight fires, save lives and property and care for both people and animals caught in the path of the fires."
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