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Sth Morang captain's contribution 'outstanding'
In 1993 Lindsay McHugh went out for a bottle of cream, happened to pop his head into the fire station, and returned home a member of South Morang Fire Brigade. Now, after 18 years, he is stepping down from the captain role after an outstanding contribution.
South Morang Fire Brigade moved to an ‘integrated model’ on 1 June with the introduction of three career firefighters. The outgoing captain will remain a member of the brigade but will pass the baton of highest-ranking volunteer member to 1st lieutenant James Stephens.
Lindsay joined South Morang in 1993 after 13 months serving with the Army in Cambodia. He said it had been a busy 18 years and he was proud of the way the brigade had grown and changed with the times.
“When I became a member it was a tin shed out the back of South Morang, which has come a long way to where we are now,” he said. “This community has grown fast and we’ve had to grow with it.”
Lindsay said that the development of the brigade has not just been in terms of fighting fires but all the other aspects of a fire brigade that were less obvious to outsiders, such as a strong relationship with the local council.
“What people don’t always realise is that fighting fires is the easy part,” he said. “It takes a lot of effort to train people, and then to maintain that training; a lot of effort to get people in, to recruit them, and it doesn’t always work out of course - people move and circumstances change.
“To keep up that enthusiasm in the brigade and in yourself, it’s important to have a good team of people around you which is what I’ve had. I’m very proud of the way the brigade has developed and the way it sits in the community now.”
Lindsay said one of the most rewarding things for him had been working with schools and pre-schools to teach kids about fire safety.
“I remember sitting in a café and two little girls came running up to me saying ‘Captain Lindsay, Captain Lindsay!’ – which took me a bit by surprise but then I realised I’d been out at their school the week before. It’s those things that are rewarding and stand out in your mind.”
Lindsay said the brigade will now move onto the next phase which is about us working together as South Morang integrated fire brigade.
“It’s been a long process. We identified some time ago that the brigade would benefit from integration and we’ve been moving toward it for some time," continued Lindsay. “The last 12 months have been about getting ready and looking at the different solutions for our leadership structure.”
Gavin Wright, Officer-In-Charge at South Morang, described his contribution as ‘outstanding’.
See also: Career fireys start at Sth Morang