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150 years and going strong
Terry Burgi’s family has been farming in the Yarra Valley since the 1860s. Volunteering with the CFA is another long-standing family tradition. Today the 67 year old receives a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to agriculture and the community.
The orchardist, from Gruyere, has been on the CFA’s books since 1968, but attended his first fire with his father in 1966. Over the years Terry has also served as a Victorian Farmers’ Federation Board member as well as VFF Horticulture Group President, and been part of several school Boards and industry groups.
Currently he’s Chairman of Southern Rural Water.
Receiving the OAM was an unexpected honour. “I’m surprised, honoured, thrilled, and a bit humbled that colleagues would go to the trouble of nominating me”, he said.
For Terry the satisfaction he’s received from more than 48 years’ service with CFA is far more important though than recognition.
“Personally it’s given me so much: friends, a sense of achievement from helping people, knowledge and skills, plus a lot of hard work on days like Black Saturday.
“It’s a great way to be involved in a community service and you get to meet some really good people.
“Gruyere is some farms, a primary school and the CFA. The brigade is integral to our community.
“It’s been good to see the recent surge in 20 somethings joining up and a massive jump in diversity as well. The gender divide is almost fifty/fifty at Gruyere now.”