The Spirit of CFA Awards are held every two years to recognise the outstanding achievements and significant contributions made by CFA staff and volunteers to CFA, local communities and the state of Victoria.
CFA people can be nominated across nine categories, including the Seniors Award which pays tribute to CFA members over the age of 60 who inspire others.
Raymond Beaton was the deserving winner of the Individual Seniors Award at the 2018 Spirit of CFA Awards, showcasing an inspiring commitment to his brigade and community through initiative and strong leadership.
For Raymond it’s all about setting up the brigade for the future. As captain of Hazelwood North brigade every move was about ensuring the future viability of the brigade.
With 35 years of service it's fair to say Raymond has been around the traps.
“There are so many incidents that stick out when you’ve been around for so long. We all remember the fires in 2009 that touched our town and how can we forget the mine fire,” Raymond said.
By all ways and means Raymond Beaton is a community man.
He was captain of his brigade for 16 years, a group officer for 10 and a lieutenant for seven. He has served for 20 years for the Latrobe Valley Baseball Association, and has also served on the Hazelwood North Hall Committee.
This is one of the many reasons why Raymond is a Spirt of CFA winner.
Raymond always knew to put his brigade first, whether it be fighting fires, getting involved in community events or educating people.
“Fighting the fires is one part of the job; it’s what you do before and after that also counts,” he said.
“We run education sessions and get out to the schools. But we also help clean up. After the 2009 fires the brigade got together and helped the farmers rebuild their fences.
“It’s not just about me or even the brigade, it’s about supporting the community, and we get out to collect donations and work to rebuild the town we love.”
Raymond was also recognised for his efforts in encouraging people with a diverse range of skills to join the brigade because for him the future of CFA depends on encouraging everyone from all walks of life to get involved.
“We’ve got a great succession plan,” he said. “All lieutenants and captains are now under 50. Young people are important - there was no use old people holding onto power. CFA isn’t about the individual, it’s about working as a team and putting the community first.”
In his more than 30 years at CFA, Raymond has expertly and diligently navigated CFA, local government, federal government and state government hierarchy to get the best outcomes for the Hazelwood North community and CFA.
Do you know someone like Raymond?
Raymond sees the Spirit of CFA Awards as an opportunity to recognise and encourage older members to continue to be involved with CFA because there are so many varied and rewarding roles.
CFA people and the Victorian community can nominate CFA staff and volunteers for the prestigious awards across nine categories.
Supported by the Victorian Government Valuing Volunteers Program, the awards were launched in 2018 to recognise the outstanding dedication and extraordinary lengths CFA people go to in helping one another, their local communities and the State of Victoria.
To be eligible for the awards, nominees need to reflect CFA’s values and have made a significant contribution to CFA and the community within the past two years.
Find out more about about the Spirit of CFA Awards.