News & Media

Thanks to Chewton's Captain Jo

  • Ex-Captain Jo, third from left
  • Jo Willen, 4th from left, front row

By: Leith Hillard

Category: People

  9.50 AM 23 July, 2013


Location: District 2 News

Views: 1994

On Sunday 30 June, Joanne Willen stepped down as the captain of Chewton brigade.

Jo has been the captain at Chewton for the past 14 years and an officer for 20 years. This is a remarkable achievement and the brigade and wider community owe her a debt of gratitude.

Letter from Captain Steve Womersley, Chewton Fire Brigade, published in the Castlemaine Mail

Small towns like Chewton depend on people stepping forward to help, and Chewton is lucky to have many willing volunteers. Volunteers built, then saved and now manage the Chewton Pool. They have made the current restoration of the historic Chewton Town Hall possible. They contribute to Landcare, the Senior Citizens Centre, the Chewton Primary School, the Domain Society, the Soccer Club, the Post Office Hill Action Group, the Chewton Chat and other not-for-profit organisations.

Among our many local volunteers, however, Jo deserves special recognition at this moment in our small town’s history for her outstanding service. Over the years Jo has fought numerous structure, grass and scrub fires, managed Hazchem incidents and attended more motor vehicle accidents than she would care to remember.

She has trained countless firefighters, mentored many others, contributed to strike teams across Victoria and led more than 100 crews, including the Chewton crew that responded to the Black Saturday fire at Redesdale.

Thankfully, Jo has not left the brigade, just taken a step back for some well-earned ‘Me Time’. She will continue to train and mentor new recruits and others, like myself, who still have much to learn.

The new brigade management team thanks Jo for her contribution and hopes that her example continues to inspire others to step forward and chip in.

Last Updated: 23 July 2013