More than 200 people rose to their feet to acknowledge the Harrington and Coopernook Rural Fire Service crews at the 2020 Harrington Australia Day ceremony.
As the firefighters made their way to the stage to collect the joint Volunteers of the Year award, the crowd gave a standing ovation to recognise their tireless work during the bushfire crisis in November 2019.
Harrington brigade captain Mick Cleland was called to the stage three times throughout the ceremony, held in the Harrington Community Centre.
After accepting the Volunteers of the Year award, Mick received a $1268 donation from two Central Coast based buskers, Dimitry and Skylar.
He was then named joint Citizen of the Year alongside Harrington Lions Club's Chris Elford.
Harrington Public School students joined with Harrington Lions Club members to raise the flag while the crowd sang Advance Australia Fair.
MidCoast Council loaned a temporary pole for the ceremony. Organisers hope to have a permanent pole installed in the near future.
Harrington RSL Sub-branch's Bill Burgess read a prayer before Harrington Public School captains Tia Benson and Noah Lindsay addressed the crowd.
Noah said Australia Day was "a day to celebrate the country and its people" while Tia recognised all Indigenous Australians.
Guest speaker David Muir gave the crowd a recount of his family's history in Harrington and Crowdy Head.
David's roots date back to his Scottish ancestors who arrived in Australia in the late 1800s and later contributed to the development of the Harrington township.
Mike Parsons, Cliff Hoare and Janeen Clifton were called on to present the Australia Day awards.
More will be published on the award winners on the Manning River Times website in the coming days.
Fittingly, the ceremony ended with the crowd singing I Am Australian.
It has been Australia's lost summer. Drought, hail, floods and, worst of all, bushfires have ravaged communities all over the nation. But the selfless actions of friends, family, neighbours, strangers, local groups and volunteer organisations have inspired us and strengthened the bonds of community. Please join us in saying thanks to the heroes of the home front by sharing your stories of gratitude. To salute a person or a group, please use the form below.