Ronda, Graham and IGEM Tony Pearce
Omeo Fire Brigade Captain Graham Symons has been honoured in the inaugural Victorian Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards.
Recognising members of emergency services who go above and beyond, the awards are for those who reflect the Rotary motto of ‘Service above Self’.
The awards recognise two major winners – an Emergency Service Officer of the Year who is a volunteer and one who is an employee.
A member of CFA for around 40 years, Graham has been Captain of Omeo Fire Brigade for 10 years following the amalgamation of the Rural and Urban brigades. He was presented with the Rotary Victoria Emergency Service Officer of the Year Serving in a Volunteer capacity award at a ceremony on Saturday 16 September. Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) Tony Pearce was in attendance as the primary sponsor of the awards.
Nominated by his partner, Ronda, Graham has been a longstanding advocate for the region.
“We’re involved in a lot of things within our community and through CFA we’ve succeeded in getting a couple of satellite stations for the Omeo brigade and have also managed to get funding for a lot of equipment for both our brigade and other brigades in the area,” Graham said.
"Rotary does a great job within the community, and I think one of the reasons that Ronda nominated me was because of all of the work I’ve put in in that space.”
Graham said doing the best for others is at the heart of all he does.
“I guess if you took CFA out of the equation, you’d still try and achieve the same for your community. For me, it starts with the community I live in and then it goes further out to the group you’re part of, and then the district you’re part of and the region, so it’s a bit of a ripple effect. You just try and do your bit and try and make it as good as it possibly can be for your community. At the end of the day, it’s just about helping others.”
While he certainly doesn’t volunteer for the accolades, Graham said he was humbled to be nominated and even more so to have won the award.
“You certainly don’t do any of this to get something at the end, because it’s more about looking after your community, but it’s more about being identified, and I’m pretty chuffed that I’ve been recognised, I guess. I think it’s lovely that the people that chose to recognise me, they must have thought that I’ve done something half decent – so it’s really special.”