Two army reservists receive rare honour

NORTHERN Rivers Army Reservists have snagged two of only four rarely-awarded military service medals in this year's Australia Day Honours list.

Reserves brigadier, Lismore anaesthetist and former State MP Brian Pezzutti, and former 41st Battalion commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel Wally Jensen were named for the military's Conspicuous Service Cross in yesterday's honours list.

State Emergency Service Northern Rivers controller Scott Hanckel was also honoured for his work for the region with the Emergency Services Medal.

Brig Pezzutti said the Conspicuous Service Cross was rarely awarded to Army Reservists, and the region had done well to have two awarded in this year's honours list.

The other two recipients were from South Australia.

Brig Pezzutti said he was honoured to receive the award, but said there were many others deserving of recognition.

“There are a lot of people out there who do a lot of work,” he said.

That effort was shown in the level of work put in by community members to make successes of Australia Day services, such as the one Brig Pezzutti attended yesterday at New Italy.

Lt-Col Jensen, who stepped down as commander of the 41st in December, said he had been surprised and humbled to receive his award.

As commander of the 41st, Lt-Col Jensen smoothed the deployment of local reservists at home and overseas. Brig Pezzutti has put in extensive overseas service with the reserves, including helping tsunami victims in Indonesia.

Mr Hanckel, who was yesterday away on holidays and not available for comment, has devoted years to protecting the people of the Northern Rivers as the main co-ordinator for the region's SES volunteers.

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