Long-serving Beaufort CFA volunteer, David Gerrard, has been recognised with an eponymous road in his honour at CFA’s new Volunteer Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC) in Ballan.
‘Gerrard Way’ celebrates David’s contribution to CFA over many decades, including leadership roles such as Beaufort Captain, Group Officer and Practical Area for Drills (PAD) Instructor.
David said he was humbled by the announcement.
“It’s something you never look for, but when I was told about the road I was quite honoured and chuffed. It’s a bit of a reward for the time you put in,” he said.
David joined CFA in 1974 as a way to contribute and connect with his local community.
In his many decades of service, he joined strike teams fighting fires all over Victoria as well as New South Wales
“As a farmer, it’s just one of those things you do to protect yourself and your community, and I enjoy being around like-minded people,” he said.
“My first strike team deployment was to Cann River in 1982 where we flew over snow to get to the fire.
“In 1994 I deployed to the fires near Wyong and Kulnura in New South Wales. It was a well-organised campaign and it was good to see how other states did things.”
David was involved in the early development and delivery of CFA’s original foundation training, Minimum Skills, now known as General Firefighter.
“Minimum Skills meant all firefighters were on the same level, so you knew everyone on the back of a truck met the same standard.
“And when CFA trucks were retrofitted to use Class A Foam, we went out to the brigades to train and qualify the members in its use as well.
David’s family has been involved in CFA over multiple generations. His father was a member, his wife Robyn joined as a Communications Officer, two of his sons and four of his grandchildren are all involved in CFA.
David’s son, Colin Gerrard, has followed in his father’s footsteps as the current Beaufort Captain.
David is looking forward to seeing the new Ballan VEMTC at the opening ceremony.
“It’ll be a bit of an eye opener I think. Things have changed a lot in training, but hot-fire training in a controlled environment is still so important,” he said.
“A real fire won’t always be controlled in the same way, but it gives people a lot of confidence and helps them gain the right knowledge.”
David is still involved in CFA as a firefighter and fire investigator, but is easing down his responsibilities and supporting the next generation coming through.