steve darbyAn Incident Intelligence Officer for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has an MBE for ‘services to International Aid’ thanks to his work with Operation Florian over the past decade.
Steve Darby started his career with the fire service in 1989 and commenced voluntary work for Florian in 2002, and has now embarked upon missions to improve community fire safety in 4 different countries around the world.

After receiving his award, IIO Darby said: "I am very pleased to accept on behalf of all the Operation Florian members who work so hard; it really is a team effort."

His first project for Florian saw Steve visit Neum in Bosnia in 2002, helping to rebuild the emergency services which were targeted by Balkan forces. Seeing the huge benefits that these efforts were bringing to these community made him "addicting to the cause and encouraged Steve to return to the country twice in the following years.

Unifying Mostar's Fire Service
By 2005, he returned to Mostar in Bosnia as project manager with the briefing to unify the divided City’s fire service. Since the end of the Balkans war there had been 2 separate fire services working in the City, one being staffed by Catholic firefighters and the other by Muslim firefighters, neither of which would attend fires or rescues in the others community. Following the 8 week project, the city was left with a unified fire service and staff being mixed across the 2 fire stations.

Over the next few years he has worked tirelessly helping communities throughout Macedonia, Montenegro and Ecuador.

Further reading: Sellafield spare equipment can save lives in Macedonia

In 2009 Steve even spent his honeymoon helping the city of Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina with Steve and wife Ann also donating their wedding gifts to the project in Mostar.

Having joined the charity as a volunteer, he progressed to the management committee and became a co-director in 2011. Steve concluded: "I genuinely believe this award is for everyone who  has supported Operation Florian, for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and just as importantly for our families who are left holding the fort at home whilst we are away on projects."