Local Alex Schofield of the Kundabung Rural Fire Service Brigade has been announced as one of the winners of the 2020 NSW RFS Young Leader Scholarship.
The scholarship recognises the recipient's contribution to their brigade and local communities, along with their leadership roles in the NSW RFS.
Alex was selected along with Shauna Cassidy of the Narrabri Brigade in Namoi/Gwydir District.
The 21-year-old joined the Kundabung Brigade in 2012 and said it was a family connection to the RFS that lead to the decision.
"My dad was in the brigade for 25 years and my brother asked me if I wanted to join with him, so I did," Alex said.
Alex volunteered countless hours fighting fires during the devastating bushfires late last year.
"We were out all the time in November. I was also part of the remote crews that helped out in other areas during the summer bushfire season."
Alex travelled to Tasmania and Gloucester as part of a remote crew as well as helping locally to contain bushfires during the summer period.
Alex's dedication to the RFS and his hard work is a credit to his local brigade, RFS Lower North Coast Superintendent Lachlann Ison said.
"I know his brigade captain and all of our team endorsed Alex's nomination for the scholarship. To be chosen out of all of the nominees across the state is pretty special," Supt Ison said.
I want to show the young members in our local brigades that you can have a go.Alex Schofield
Alex nominated himself for the scholarship last year and was announced as runner up.
"To go up against members from the bigger brigades across NSW and get runner up last year and then to get the scholarship this year is amazing," Alex said.
The scholarship requires the two recipients to set sail on a 11-day voyage on the STS Young Endeavour, a scheme that is run in partnership with the Royal Australian Navy.
The 11-day voyage provides an opportunity to participate in the challenges of sailing a tall ship, learning skills such as how to navigate, keep watch, set and furl sails, climb a 30 metre mast, take the helm and cook in the galley.
For Alex, who has never been on a boat out on the open ocean, said he is looking forward to the experience.
"It will be interesting to see how I go, but sometimes you just need to try new things.
"I want to show the young members in our local brigades that you can have a go."
Alex's voyage on the Young Endeavour has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions and at this stage he is looking to set sail in October.