MGEU welcomes home firefighters from Australia

The wildfires tearing through Australia are an unprecedented national disaster. At least 26 people have died, along with millions of animals, while nearly 15 million acres have burned and more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed since October.

Winnipeg (17 Jan. 2020) — Two dedicated firefighting experts from Manitoba Conservation, who were helping to fight the wildfires burning in Australia, returned home yesterday. 

MGEU/NUPGE firefighters home after 38-day in Australia

Andrew Prokopchuk and Gerry Rosset were greeted by family at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport after a 38-day stint helping Australian officials with the continuing firefight in South Wales, about 200 kilometres south of Sydney.

“They have given so much of themselves at a time when others halfway across the globe so desperately needed their help,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitobe Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE).  Both firefighters are members of the MGEU/NUPGE. “They missed the holidays with their family and friends. I hope they both get some downtime to reflect on the past weeks and catch up with their families.”

Prokopchuk and Rosset were part of a Canadian contingent of 21 firefighters sent early in December. Three other Manitoba-based firefighters are still in Australia battling the fires. 

“We thank all of the firefighters who have travelled to Australia in very dangerous conditions to help where they can. On behalf of all MGEU/NUPGE members, thank you for your hard work, thank you for representing our province, and welcome home.”

The wildfires tearing through Australia are an unprecedented national disaster. At least 26 people have died, along with millions of animals, while nearly 15 million acres have burned and more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed since October.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE