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Frank Coulson AFSM
After 53 years in CFA, including 20 years’ experience as a leader, Portland’s Frank Coulson has certainly gained the respect of his peers.
Today Frank receives an Australian Fire Services Medal (AFSM) as part of the Queens’ Birthday Honours.
You could almost call Frank a local to Portland district, having lived there since he was one. He was hauled in to the Cashmore Fire Brigade in 1962, after his father took him along him to his first brigade fire at aged 15.
It was just something you did, he says, being part of a small community.
Everyone has a reason for joining CFA and Frank says he saw a gap in training in the early days.
Ash Wednesday brought it home again to Frank, as he saw a need for higher skills training.
Throughout the years, Frank has held many hats in CFA. For the 10 years from 1996 to 2006 Frank held the position of Group Officer of the Heywood Group, the most senior volunteer rank, and was Chair of the Regional Planning Committee, representing CFA on the multi-agency Emergency Management Planning Committee for Portland.
He was the foundation captain of the District 4 Headquarters Brigade, which is his current role. He has developed a diverse group of members into effective teams to provide administrative and logistical support during incidents and emergencies.
He’s served over 15 years as Senior Vice President of Volunteer Fire Brigades of Victoria.
He’s very hands on and gets a lot of satisfaction out of being a leader.
His advice for others who are thinking about joining CFA is plain and simple: “Just join up,” he says.
“You’ll enjoy it. We need a lot more younger people.”