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Wayne honoured for his service
Tyabb brigade member Wayne Etcell has received Victoria’s highest accolade for volunteers, the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award.
Wayne received the honour during the Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards, at Government House. His long history of serving the community extends back 42 years and takes in the Scouts, Surf Life Saving and CFA. He’s been an active member of Tyabb brigade for 12 years. On average he spends around 25 hours a week serving the community through various organisations and roles.
“I’m very surprised and very humble to be the recipient. There were 17 nominees. It’s a real honour to have won it,” Wayne said.
Wayne is deaf and hears with the assistance of two Cochlear implants. He doesn’t let his disability slow him down. If anything, it motivates him.
“I can get out and about amongst others and prove I’m equal. I can do anything,” he said.
In receiving the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award, Wayne was commended for his passion, dedication and professionalism. In his speech he thanked all those who inspired and supported him along the way, describing his service with CFA as an honour and privilege.
“It is a fantastic organisation. We’re like brothers in arms. We look after each other’s backs.”
As well as being a CFA member, Wayne also serves as a Justice of the Peace and Bail Justice. The only night he takes off from those duties is Monday, for CFA training.
All that community service keeps him busy. The night after receiving his award Wayne was back on a truck attending a scrub fire in Hastings. He then went home, changed clothes, got back in his car and drove to Dandenong and Cranbourne police stations to act as a Bail Justice.
Part of Wayne’s award is $10,000 to donate to a charity of his choosing. Tyabb CFA will be the grateful recipient. The money will be used for station upgrades.
For Wayne though, community service has had other rewards. He met his fiancée, Dawn, while notarising documents for her as a Justice of the Peace. She nominated him for the prize, explaining “Everything he does is with a disability. That’s what makes him just that little bit special.”
“It’s something he loves and really enjoys. Wayne has always overachieved in everything he does,” Dawn said.
Wayne wants more people to give volunteering a go, because “it’s the Aussie way”, and he doesn’t intend to stop himself any time soon.
“No way. I’ll get a call out any minute now probably,” Wayne said.