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Larne Man Tommy Torbitt awarded the King’s Fire Service Medal

by | Dec 31, 2023

Watch Commander Torbitt, an On-Call Firefighter in Larne Fire Station, has been awarded the prestigious medal for his service to ‘Fire and Rescue Service’ in this years’ New Year’s Honours list.

A well respected local business man, Mr Torbitt has devoted over 48 years of his life to Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) in helping protect his local community. Tommy has been a Watch Commander for over 20 years, dedicates approximately 140 hours per week to his on call role and has consistently acted above and beyond to serve and protect his local community.

As well as his exemplary career, Tommy has been recognised for his professionalism; leadership and community focus into making Northern Ireland a safer place. Tommy received a personal Chief Fire Officers Commendation in 1998 after performing a rescue from outside a high rise building.

Tommy is a trusted community ambassador and has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, having guided his Firefighters through various challenging incidents over a long career. Tommy encompasses everything that NIFRS stand for.

Tommy was instrumental in ensuring his fire crews remained resilient and focused on providing the best possible service to his community during the temporary closure of Larne Fire Station in 2016, after it sustained malicious damage. Tommy played a leading role this year as his crews entered a brand new fire station, a project that he dedicated much of his own time to.

Tommy’s dedication has proven invaluable over the years ensuring as many people as possible have received fire safety advice and positioned Larne Fire Station as a hub for community safety. Tommy continues to seek every opportunity to engage with the public and ensures any request for fire service representation at schools, faith groups and youth clubs are facilitated.

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Aidan Jennings said:

“On behalf of everyone in NIFRS and on a personal level, I would like to congratulate Tommy on receiving this prestigious award. He embodies the very best values of NIFRS and this award is so well deserved. This award recognises the incredible work Tommy has done in going above and beyond to help protect our community during his 48 year career.

“Tommy is a true leader and an exceptional Firefighter. He is a credit to himself and to the crews in Larne Fire Station. He has been instrumental in creating and building community partnerships which are so fundamentally vital to the work here at NIFRS.”

Watch Commander Tommy Torbitt said:

“I feel privileged and proud to be part of NIFRS and I am absolutely delighted to have received this award. It has been an honour to work for this service for 48 years and I would not have received this award if it weren’t for the people who I have worked with along the way.

“I am thrilled that the new station in Larne opened this year. I had the opportunity to play a key role in ensuring the station reflected the needs of the community and crews as well as incorporating important historical features and symbols that reflected the former station and those who served in it.

“I would like to thank everyone I have worked with inside and outside of the organisation and the incredible work that has been achieved in improving community safety. I would also like to thank my family, my wife Shirley and my sons Jason and Mark who have been the best support to me over the years. My son Jason is now an On Call Firefighter in Larne and I am very proud to be working alongside him.”

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