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Graeme and Ruth dedicated to Mandurang
In celebration of National Volunteer Week we are recognising a few of our outstanding volunteers who always go above and beyond for their home town.
Graeme and Ruth Pearce have dedicated their lives to helping their local community of Mandurang.
Graeme joined the Mandurang Brigade in 1955 and Ruth followed in 1974.
The pair has a passion for assisting their community in any way they can, especially when it comes to all things sporty.
Graeme has been a keen athlete his whole life and when he joined the fire brigade 62 years ago, he had originally only signed up to be on the running team.
“It is funny to think I only joined up to be a runner and then had the honour of being Captain for over 41 years,” Graeme said.
Graeme’s wife of over 51 years, Ruth, said the whole family have been involved with Graeme’s running events.
“I would wake the boys up at 5am, get them ready and we would all travel together to watch Graeme race.
“The boys would come to every event. They would play on the playground and watch the games; it was a big part of their childhood.
For over 44 years the Annual Firefighting Championships have been held at Mandurang on the running track. Graeme and his family built a track for firefighters to train on in honour of Graeme’s late brother who served in the Vietnam War.
“The whole family got involved, mum and dad even did the earth works,” he said.
“For the grand opening we invited local brigades to come down, for a friendly competition.
“The event was so successful, that all the brigades asked for it to be held every year and thus the tradition started.”
Graeme and Ruth are part of many committees that benefit their local community and most recently Graeme was honoured by the Local Recreation and Reserve Committee.
The local cricket club which Graeme played with for many years were in desperate need for a new pavilion. So in typical Graeme and Ruth style they rallied together to lobby local council and residents to fund the project.
“To my surprise they unveiled the pavilion and announced the reserve would be known as Pearce Reserve,” Graeme said.
“I’ve been the secretary and treasurer for the committee since 1962 so this was a great achievement and honour for Ruth and me.”
As part of the volunteer week festivities 200 CFA volunteers, including Graeme and Ruth, will march on the MCG prior to the Essendon and Geelong Country Game.
This is particularly special for the Pearce clan as long before Graeme was a member for CFA, he was a member of the Geelong Cats fan club.
“I’ve been a mad supporter since 1949,” Graeme said.
Ruth didn’t have a choice in the matter, and when they got together she too was converted into a Cats fan.
“The day I married Graeme I think I married the Geelong football club too,” she laughed.
“Our four boys are also keen footy supporters,” Ruth said.