Ralph Ross of Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade wins Spirit of CFA Seniors Award

Member News image Ralph Ross with CEO Natalie MacDonald


There is no one more deserving of receiving the 2022 Spirit of CFA Seniors Award than Ralph Ross. His accomplishments are numerous and varied.


He has been a member of Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade since 1978, or almost 43 years, and is an active member of the community. He has held officer positions with CFA and has received numerous awards including the National Emergency Medal for the 2009 fires in Victoria and the 40-year CFA service medal. In addition, Ralph will shortly be awarded the National Service Medal to recognise his participation in the NSW and Victoria fires in 2019–20. He will also receive a pin from the Victorian State Government for the 2019–20 fire season.

In the Kallista region, he has responded to 18 fatal motor vehicle collisions, numerous house fires, and numerous local bushfires throughout the years.  Ralph has won numerous accolades throughout the years and letters of support for him speak highly of his leadership, inspiration, and friendship. 

His extraordinary expansive knowledge, and his positive outlook are welcome attributes. He does not point out your mistakes by public grandstanding but rather quietly gathers you aside and asks, 'how could it be done better?' says Martin Noonan of Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade.

“The inspiration we receive from Ralph comes from his empathic demeanour, sense of humour and his decisiveness under pressure,” Martin said. “If he’s in the front seat in the tanker when turning out, he will calmly chat with the driver and have a bit of a joke, which sets up a calm atmosphere in the cabin. When we alight the tanker at the job, Ralph's method as officer in charge, is directive, sensible and safe. We are safe. There is a job to do.”

For more than 15 years, Ralph has also organised yearly events including the Puffing Billy Fun Run and the Royal Children's Hospital annual appeal. Many people participate in these activities because they are inspired by Ralph to help others.

Ralph said, “carrying out this work is a part of our community, and I am one of many organisers who help ensure that there are enough people there to provide traffic control and other event support.”

Ralph continues to lead, mentor, and advise new members in firefighting operations thanks to his extensive firefighting experience. Ralph shares his ‘tricks of the trade’ with everyone, and these are invaluable because they are not contained in any training handbook. These result in a deeper comprehension of the concept and helps to improve firefighter safety on the ground.

When asked how he feels about receiving this honour, Ralph replied, "Humbled and shocked. I was truly shocked when I received the email informing me that I had been selected as a finalist.

“I was astonished by what I've accomplished and grateful for the recognition, which I didn't anticipate. We all work together to support one another in our tiny brigade and community, and the camaraderie is fantastic.”

His inspiration extends well outside the brigade with his attendance at the inaugural VFBV Youth Forum to help define a process to establish young membership in CFA. Ralph has also assisted the Dandenong Ranges Fire Brigades Group to establish the group's now current field operational vehicle. Many volunteer radio operators from the Ranges Group have received training from this vehicle.

On behalf of CFA and the Members of Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade, we would like to congratulate Ralph Ross on winning the 2022 Spirit of CFA Award.


  • Member News image
Submitted by CFA Media