The Daughter Of Volunteer Firefighter Refuses To Leave His Side At His Funeral
Andrew O'Dwyer died battling the NSW bushfires
Since the devastating bushfires began across the country in September, many images, video and stories have struck a chord - not just with fellow Australians, but globally. The most heartbreaking to surface from the ongoing climate crisis is that of volunteer firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer's funeral.
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20-month-old Charlotte O'Dwyer was captured standing by her father's side while wearing his helmet and newly presented service medal, and the images are truly heartbreaking.
The 36-year-old father was one of two volunteer firefighters who died battling the ongoing blazes. The incident also killed 32-year-old Geoffrey Keaton, who was a father to his own 20-month-old child, born just two days apart from Charlotte, 9 News reports.
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons delivered a eulogy, telling Charlotte that Andrew, who joined the service in 2003, was a “hero” before pinning the medal on her dress. Mr Fitzsimmons also presented Mr O’Dwyer’s partner, Melissa, with a Commissioner’s Commendation for extraordinary service and bravery — the highest accolade that can be given to NSW firefighters.
According to the Daily MailCommissioner Fitzsimmons told the crowd, “You need to know that your dad was a selfless man, he was a special man. There are no words that can adequately describe our sorrow, our respect, our regard, for the loss of Andrew…in that tragic accident."
“Charlotte should know her father was a selfless and special man, who only left because he was a hero."
Our thoughts are with the O'Dwyer family.
Grace BackGrace Back is a journalist and was formerly the Digital Culture Editor across ELLE and marie claire Australia. When not stuck in a seemingly endless Instagram scroll, you'll find Grace with her head in a good book.