Former Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) Director of Operations Sean Bone-Knell and current Head of Procurement at KFRS, Tina Butler, have been recognised in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Sean, who retired from KFRS in March 2020, after 33 years of service, has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal – a prestigious medal given to members of the fire services in the UK and Commonwealth for distinguished services or gallantry.
Sean said: “I was so surprised and proud when I first found out, having only just adjusted to life after the fire and rescue service having retired in March this year.”
Over the years Sean’s dedication to the fire service stretched further than Kent too, having held three roles as part of the National Fire Chief’s Council – Marine Firefighting Lead Officer, Road Safety Lead Officer, and Dementia Lead Officer – through which he was able to help steer national policy and make a difference within fire services and communities across the UK.
He added: “My career has seen many unique moments and incidents that will stay with me for the rest of life alongside some memorable times when major events such as the Tour de France and Olympics needed contingency planning for the County. It has also taught me to enjoy every moment as life is so precious in this beautiful County we live in. My wife Teresa and my daughters Emily and Lucy have always supported me in my career and this honour could not have been achieved without them. They’ve have allowed me to dedicate my career to working with what I see as the best Fire and Rescue Service in the Country and protecting the people and communities of Kent & Medway.”
Tina Butler has been awarded an MBE for her national work during the COVID-19 pandemic in sourcing PPE for key workers across the UK to make sure they were prepared and equipped to continue their vital work during the global crisis.
Tina said: “I honestly couldn’t believe that the words I was reading were about me and I had to read it twice for it to sink in. This really is the proudest moment in my career so far.”
Tina’s work to improve firefighting PPE sourcing began before the pandemic, but during lockdown Tina led the National Fire Commercial Transformation Programme (NFCTP) to use their network of members and partners in wider industry sectors to source PPE such as gloves, masks and hand sanitiser. Following stringent evidence, compliance and standards checks, Tina Butler and her team would then complete the due diligence before they liaised with Fire and Rescue Services up and down the country in a determined bid to ensure access to available supply of critical PPE.
She added: “I put every ounce of energy that I had into making sure that colleagues on the front line had access to the right level of protection to help keep them safe as they performed their vital public services. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I have been so very fortunate to have the support of a wonderful and dedicated team around me and together we managed to engage with over 420 suppliers to mitigate risks of fake products and potential for modern slavery within the supply chains to ensure resilience in national supply. I am truly grateful for this amazing award and recognition – my heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone that supported me and nominated me for this award.”
Kent Fire and Rescue Service Chief Executive, Ann Millington said: “I’m immensely proud of both Sean and Tina and of their commitment to delivering excellence in their work and for their selfless dedication to others – they truly deserve this wonderful recognition.
“Working alongside these two incredibly hard working people has been an absolute pleasure. They are both hugely respected at KFRS and this honour can only lead to inspire others. I congratulate them both.”