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Comms Officer Stan turns 100
There was a significant fire hazard in the Yalca and Yielima Fire Brigade area on Tuesday 2 September as 100 candles were lit to celebrate Communications Officer Stan Brown’s birthday.
Chief Officer Euan Ferguson acknowledged the event in a direct message to Stan.
“Dear Stan, Happy 100th birthday! You are our oldest comms officer in CFA! We are proud of what you have achieved in life and of your membership with Yalca and Yielima CFA. Enjoy the day!”
Stan is more than 40 years into his comms officer role and has received his 75 year CFA service medal.
Clearly he’s the right man for the job with brigade Secretary Cheryl Thorn describing him as “always on the phone. He’s a wealth of knowledge on the Barmah bush and always willing to share what he knows.”
Operations Officer Rob Van Dorsser seconds that.
“The brigade really looks to Stan because he always makes sure that the members are kept informed,” said Rob.
Stan has been awarded at least14 life memberships, many related to local cricket, and coached junior cricket until two years ago.
He lives in one of three houses on the family farm with two of his sons in the other houses and “still cuts a few burrs”. He is a father of four, grandfather of 11 and great grandfather of “about six”.
Like life memberships awarded and years of CFA service, it’s perfectly reasonable to lose count when the numbers are so large and spread over a long life of dedicated service to his community and love for family.
“I went to fires until the 1970s,” said Stan, “then I went straight into comms. Since then there have been some fires that needed attention all through the night. I’d get the next crew together and keep families informed about when a shift would end.
“We’re pretty well organised and I’ve got some very loyal firefighters who drop everything and go. It’s a great help if you have people around who are willing and able to help.”
There are some particular things that Stan believes put him on the right path in life.
“I grew up in a family that talked cricket,” he said, “and I represented Victoria Country against the English national team in 1937. I got out the English captain Gubby Allen.
“Cricket is a great character builder. You’re out there and 12 fellows don’t want you out there!
“When I was 16, I met Don Bradman. He told us to get as much as possible out of our natural abilities. He said, ‘You must forget about the little white things’ meaning cigarettes, and ‘You mustn’t go in the brick buildings on the corners’ meaning pubs. And I never did. When Bradman tells you something, it makes a big impression.”
Stan was married to Vera for more than 60 years – she passed away four years ago – and they shared a love of farm life.
“It’s a very healthy life,” said Stan, “because you’re living with nature. Your area becomes part of you and you want to keep it alive.
“A lady who lives nearby said to me, ‘We’re awful lucky. We don’t get flooded out or burnt out. We don’t have car fumes. We’re our own boss.’
“If you forget the dollars and cents, farm life is the best life there is.”
Happy birthday Stan, and congratulations on your many achievements.