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Ray’s 50 years of opportunities
Little did Ray Downes know that helping his local fire brigade with roadside burning would end up being a partnership of over 50 years with CFA.
Story by Sharon Linke
Ray, a Wildfire Instructor in Districts 4 & 5, was presented with his 50 year service medal last Friday by Deputy Chief Officer Training, Gregg Paterson, and was joined by his ‘second family’, the South West region Learning & Development team.
Although he has combatted many significant fires while a member of the Branxholme brigade, the Ash Wednesday fires in the Western District during Feb 1983 were the worst which Ray has seen, with a neighbour’s houses lost and the death of a local firefighter.
Completing the AIIMS course in 1990 steered Ray onto the incident management pathway.
Roles including Community Officer, Information Officer, Mapping and Planning saw Ray combatting fires in the Barwon South West region and further afield in North East Victoria and Gippsland.
The late 1990’s saw Ray digress within CFA as a casual instructor at the Penshurst Training Campus, Community Education Officer, various Project Officer roles and Brigade Admin Support Officer.
Now as a Wildfire Instructor for more than 10 years, Ray loves the interaction with a broad range of people through CFA.
“Being able to help others develop and grow in the knowledge and skills of dealing with emergencies is very rewarding,” said Ray.
“This includes teaching VCAL students at local secondary schools, and facilitating TEWT’s (Tactical Exercises Without Troops) with rural brigades.
“The many opportunities which CFA has provided for personal development have been outstanding.”