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Ullina Fire Brigade Celebrates
It was very much a family affair last night when CFA Barwon South West Regional Director, Bob Barry, made the trip to Ullina Fire Brigade in Grampians Region to present a posthumous National Medal, awarded to his brother John.
John passed away in 2011 after a long and distinguished history with CFA. He commenced his membership in 1969 and his service included performing in the roles of Lieutenant (8 years total), Captain (18 years) and Deputy Group Officer (8 years). As an engineer and Quality Assurance Auditor, and working across a number of shires, John also played an instrumental role in the development of the original Municipal Fire Prevention Plan model that was established for use across the state.
The medal was presented to John’s wife, Janice, in front of a gathering of brigade members, John’s family and Creswick Group Officer, Alan Hives. It was clear from the fitting and heartfelt tribute, and reminiscences after the presentation, that John has had a lasting impact on the organisation at both brigade and Group level, and beyond.
CFA runs in the Barry family’s veins with John’s wife Janice having over 20 years’ service (20 of these as Communications Officer) in the brigade, sons Tim serving as the current Ullina FB Captain, Lindsay and Andy, who are career firefighters at Ballarat City and Corio respectively, and his daughter Katrina, who has nearly 15 years’ service, and is the current Communications Officer.
In an additional presentation, D15 Operations Manager Geoffrey Gray, along with Bob and Tim, awarded some significant service medals to four brigade members, whose combined service totalled a remarkable 200 years! The medals were awarded to: Ken Muller (40 years), David Anderson (45 years), Graeme Keith (50 years, and received by son Russell on his behalf), and Wally Cook (65 years). Wally was also able to enlighten the audience with stories of what firefighting was like “back in his day”, having attended his very first fire at age 12.
To achieve 200 years of service across only 4 members was acknowledged as an outstanding achievement, and one that couldn’t have been reached without the invaluable and essential support of their families. Comments from Bob, Geoffrey and Tim reflected that it wasn’t only the length of service that was important, but also the depth of experience gained during that time that still exists in the brigade, and is able to be passed on.
The relaxed function finished with a barbecue and a very enjoyable night was had by all!