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"You're part of the community"
Don Duffus’s long history of volunteering encompasses 42 years, three states and many organisations – including CFA. Today he has received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to veterans, their families and the community.
Don spent 13 years with CFA, including time as Chum Creek Captain and a Lieutenant with Healesville brigade. He also helped rescue trapped CFA crews during Ash Wednesday while working as a Melbourne Water Inspector. Since retiring and moving North to Hervey Bay Don has served with Queensland Rural Fire Service’s Nikenbah Brigade, as well as a training instructor and a Group Officer for the state’s third busiest region.
Don said “Volunteering just runs in your blood. If my place was threatened by fire, volunteers – some of my neighbours – would turn up and put it out. What are you going to do when it’s your turn to help them? You’re part of the community.”
On top of all his other commitments Don has also worked as a welfare officer for the RSL since 1970.
Don has vivid memories of two CFA deployments to NSW and of Ash Wednesday. He lead a Melbourne Water team that moved hundreds of fallen trees to rescue four CFA crews trapped by the firestorm. “They were safe and had even managed to save structures in the area while they waited.”
The retiree said the important lessons he learned while part of CFA still serve him well and that while Queensland fires were usually less ferocious there were some constants – such as community support.