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Traralgon applauds Auxiliary
Eight members of the Traralgon brigade auxiliary have been awarded life memberships, celebrating a combined service of 232 years to their brigade and community.
Lyn Day, Janice Eenjes, Lyn Eenjes, Joan Hill, Joan Jones, June Membrey, Coralie Stuckey and Marian Tripp received their service awards at the Traralgon annual dinner.
Janis Eenjes first joined the Auxiliary to support her husband Ale, who is now First Lieutenant.
“I started many years ago. We’ve always supported the firefighters and done whatever needed to be done. There have been a number of big fires that had us up past 11pm making sandwiches,” said Janis.
The Auxiliary caters for all the brigade functions: presentation evenings, peer support meetings, dances at the fire station. They even set up a stand at the Traralgon races for a number of years.
“When the brigade has a function, all the ladies bring a salad and a sweet and we make sure all the children get toys at the Christmas function. All the typical Auxiliary work – you send cards when someone’s sick and that sort of thing,” said Janis.
“One of our ladies has been here for around 43 years and still comes to meetings. It’s always good to catch up. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to control – we talk about everything else and not what we should be talking about.”
Lyn Day is in her third term as president and was pleased to receive her life membership.
"I joined the Traralgon Auxiliary after we moved here. My husband joined after our daughter was born in January in 1978 and I joined in November. We had a membership of about 30 ladies when I first joined and there were four permanent paid officers,” said Lyn.
“My husband is a peer support leader now and my son is also involved. He started with the junior running team as soon as he was old enough. He’s 31 now and still with the seniors team. Plus he’s a volunteer firefighter – he loves it.
“We’ve got a scanner set up next to the television – we listen as we watch TV. We’ve always done that.
“When we went on holidays, the first thing our son wanted to do was find the nearest fire station. If it was open we’d say ‘we’re from Traralgon can we have a look around?’ He could take you around all the stations in Melbourne,” said Lynne.
“A highlight for me is the companionship, everyone’s very friendly. We attended a demo in Port Arlington with five boys, their dads and even a few of their grandfathers involved.
“Four years ago I was sick and taken to a Melbourne hospital – the first flowers I received were from Traralgon fire brigade.
“I’d encourage everyone to get involved with their local brigade – especially if they’re new to the town. It’s a great way of getting to know different people and very rewarding to be able to help the town.”
First Lieutenant Ale Eenjes appreciates the support that Auxiliary provides.
“It’s good to have that assistance. Without them doing what they do, the guys would be snonkered. We give them a hand as well at the demos and they give us a hand – it’s a mutual understanding you could say,” said Ale.
“They’ve put a lot of money into the brigade through their fundraising work. They’ve put money toward a garage we had in the old station and chrome plating on a lot of the couplings that we used to have, as well as standpipes for hydrants. They’ve put a lot of money into a lot of different things,” said Ale.
Operations Officer Peter Lockwood commended the Traralgon Auxiliary on its contribution to the brigade over the years.
“The Traralgon Auxiliary is very active. The catering, coordination and organisation work they do makes them worth their weight in gold. The cheque to fund some of the projects is always welcome,” said Peter.
The Auxiliary is preparing to help with catering for the Junior Eastern Districts which will be held in Maffra this year.