Northern Ireland fire & rescue crew commander receives highest accolade for bravery – the Queen’s Gallantry Medal

Published:  28 July, 2010

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Crew Commander Gavin Miller from Limavady Fire Station has received the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, one of the highest civil decorations awarded in the UK for exemplary acts of bravery. 

NIFRS nominated Crew Commander Gavin Miller for this highest accolade to recognise his outstanding bravery in rescuing his colleague Leading Firefighter Joe McCloskey from the fire at Gorteen House Hotel in Limavady on 1 November 2003.  Despite the pain from the intense heat of the fire, Crew Commander Gavin Miller managed to reach his colleague and drag him to safety.  Tragically Leading Firefighter Joe McCloskey later died in hospital.

Crew Commander Gavin Miller is a retained (part time) Firefighter at Limavady Fire Station.  He joined Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service in 1998 and was promoted to Crew Commander in 2009.  He is married to Nuala and has a young son.

Tom Wright, Acting Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said:

“Everyone in Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service is delighted today that Gavin has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Gallantry Medal. It is so rightly deserved and we as an organisation are incredibly proud of him.  NIFRS has worked tirelessly to have Gavin recognised at the highest level for his unparalleled bravery.

“Today however is also a sad day for NIFRS as we remember the loss of our colleague Leading Firefighter Joe McCloskey at the tragic fire at Gorteen House Hotel in Limavady on 1 November 2003.  Joe remains in all our thoughts.”

Eoin Doyle, Western Area Commander, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said:

“I am personally delighted to congratulate Gavin on receiving this highest civil decoration for his remarkable bravery in rescuing Leading Firefighter Joe McCloskey at the Gorteen House Hotel fire.  This recognition has taken some time but NIFRS has remained resolute in its desire to have Gavin decorated for his exemplary bravery.  Gavin truly represents what working for the fire and rescue service is all about and we are very proud of him.”

Crew Commander Gavin Miller, Limavady Fire Station said:

 “It is a great honour to receive the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.  I am overwhelmed and delighted but would like to dedicate this award to the memory of my colleague Leading Firefighter Joe McCloskey and his family.  My thoughts are and always have been with them.  I would also like to dedicate the award to all my colleagues who fought the fire on that tragic night.  It is such a privilege and inspiration to work with such courageous people every day.”

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