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Assistant regional officers 30 years on
Some prominent CFA members are celebrating 30 years in the career ranks after starting out as assistant regional officers, grade one; the role of current operations officers.
Dale Russell, Michael Boatman, David Sherry, Garry Cook, Peter O’Keefe, Paul Roughead and Craig Lapsley have taken a range of career paths after those early days training at Fiskville.
“Where did 30 years go,” asks Peter, now West Region assistant chief officer. “That’s a big part of anyone’s life and a major contribution.
“We all got our start in the volunteer ranks and that’s given us that affinity with the volunteer culture. Dealing with such a great range of volunteers and staff across the state is such a privilege.
“For me, it’s been an incredible opportunity to be involved in an organisation that supports the community. It’s really rewarding.”
Operations Manager/ Regional Commander South East Region David Sherry started as a junior volunteer at Hampton Park at age 11.
The running team was the initial attraction “but once I was in the brigade I began thinking about the fire service as my career in life,” says Dave, “and I only firmed up in that belief. Some years later, I saw an ad in The Fireman [now Fire Wise] and an opportunity to apply for a position that I was strongly attracted to.”
Dave has moved around a lot over his 30 years, starting at headquarters in Malvern before moving to Regional/District roles at Ballarat, Bendigo, Sale and eight years at Warragul. He is currently based at Dandenong South.
“My early rotation through various headquarters departments was a good grounding to understand the wider context of CFA, which had previously just been my brigade,” continues Dave.
“When we began as assistant ROs, our primary role was to support our members and our brigades so they could be the very best they could be. That remains the same today.
“I’ve been presented with unique and incredible opportunities and challenges that you’d never get in any other workplace.
“The size and breadth of CFA continues to amaze me but it is our members – our volunteers and employees – who are and will always be our greatest asset. We have so many wonderful and dedicated people. They embody the real sense of purpose of service delivery to our community.”