CFA volunteer John McIntyre remembers well the first fire he attended as a 16 or 17 year old when he was a volunteer at Lara Fire Brigade.
“There is a road between the You Yangs and private property,” John said. "A woman had lit a fire because there was a snake coming out of the bush. It was a windy day so the fire took off into the You Yangs."
John was the focus of a special afternoon tea held at Yackandandah Health’s new residential aged care facility, where he was presented with this 65-year CFA Service Medal by District 24 Commander Mark Owens.
Joining him were Yackandandah Fire Brigade Captain Yves Quaglio, former captains Cameron McKern, Neil Padbury and Mark Burbidge, Publicity and Promotions officer Margrit Beemster as well as other Yackandandah health residents.
“I do many things in my role but one thing I love the most is presenting service awards,” Mark said.
John’s CFA service record reflects the various Brigades he has been a member of - Lara (1954), St. James and District, Swanpool (23 years), Gnarwarre, and Yackandandah since 2003. His roles, additional to firefighter, have included lieutenant, promotion and publicity, and asset maintenance.
John, who is now 85 years of age, has seen many changes to the CFA over the 65 years.
“When I started we had a hand-operated pump with a wooden handle,” John said.
“The biggest change over the years has been with the fire trucks. Everything used to be done by hand; now it is push button. Volunteering is still the same; it is the equipment we use that has changed. Everybody back then had to sit on the back of the truck and hang on any way you could.”
John says the CFA has given him lots of experience and comradeship over the years. In return, John has not only given his many years of service, but also willingly shared his expertise and skills, which has included designing a machine to wash fire hoses.
Thank you John!