“It’s quite humbling and really, is a reflection of the brigade,” he said.
“We work as a unit and did on that day (Black Saturday).”
Michael received an OAM today as part of the Queen’s Birthday 2012 Honours List for service to the community of Arthurs Creek, particularly during the 2009 Victorian bushfires.
During the campaign fires, Mr Chapman was a 1st Lieutenant, working alongside former Captain, David McGahy.
“We just did what we needed to do on that day and to the best of our abilities,” Michael said.
Moving to Arthurs Creek in 1983 was a huge lifestyle change for Michael.
“I came to Australia from London in ‘72 and was still living in a city environment,” he said.
“Moving to Arthurs Creek to live on 20 acres was my first country experience and it really is heaven here.”
It was following bushfires that ravaged parts of NSW in 1993 that Michael joined CFA.
“I just woke up to the fact that I needed to do something,” Michael said.
“Being a volunteer with CFA has been a very rewarding experience – especially with a rural fire brigade.”
Michael took over the role of captain of Arthurs Creek and the satellite Strathewen Fire Station last year and hopes to continue leading the brigade for many more years to come.
“For many years I worked alongside (former captain) David and I think we really complimented each other,” Michael said.
“He has been a great mentor to me over the years so it’s been really great to hear feedback that the transition from David as captain to myself as been a seamless one.
“I’m really enjoying the new role and hope to stay on as captain for as long as the brigade will have me.”
Aside from leading Arthurs Creek Fire Brigade, Michael is also involved in a number of committees, dedicated to fire prevention in partnership with other agencies and the community.