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New start for Gapsted Fire Brigade
It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, Gapsted Fire Brigade was experiencing trying times.
The brigade were facing issues such as member numbers dwindling, a small leadership group and the current captain not willing to take the role on again which left the brigade facing a possible closure.
That all changed at the 2015 Gapstead Annual General Meeting (AGM), where members banded together and pledged to save their brigade.
District 24 Officer in Charge Paul King attended the AGM and said it was the start of numerous positive changes for the brigade.
“I’m not in the business of closing down fire brigades, but Gapsted were in dire straits,” Paul said.
“A lot came out of that meeting, in particular Lieutenant Laurie Larsen’s decision to nominate himself for the role of captain.
“Laurie really stepped up and the viability of the brigade is much stronger and the culture has completely changed,” Paul said.
Laurie Larsen said the decision that evening was one he wasn’t too sure of but one he is now very glad he made.
“I remember sitting up the back hoping I wouldn’t be noticed,” Laurie said.
“As Paul called for captain nominations for the third or fourth time I knew that if Gapsted were going to survive as a brigade, someone was going to have to stand up, so I did.”
Since that day the brigade has gone from strength to strength and become a strong pillar in the community.
“We recently had our service awards night and we asked everyone in the community to attend,” Laurie said.
“I went on a letter box drop around town inviting everyone to come down and join us.
“A few local businesses provided us with some raffle prizes and we asked everyone who came to bring a casserole.
“It was a night to be proud of, as both Brigade Captain and a member of the community.”
As a previous Richmond football player and football coach, Laurie said he often applies his sporting values to his captaincy.
“I treat my role as captain the same as I do as a coach,” Laurie said.
“You have to lead by example, be proud of your team and most importantly thank your crew after each job.
“You are a leader, be proud of that.
Two years in and Laurie is enjoying his role as a leader of the Gapsted brigade.
“In the past two years I have not once felt alone in my role, there’s always been someone to guide me and teach me along the way,” Laurie said.
“I’ve learned you can’t be afraid to step up and help out. There is always someone there to listen and make sure if you need help you ask for it.”