More than 500 collective years of service was celebrated at the South Gippsland Group of Fire Brigades’ annual dinner on Saturday, 29 July.
Volunteers and locals across the region gathered at the Toora Fire Brigade that this year celebrate their station’s 90-year anniversary.
The township’s character stems back to when the community first purchased the station site at Gray Street for 500 pounds, with the backing of the butcher, baker, and barber.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of eight National Emergency Medals awarded by the Governor General recognising diligent long service to the community in hazardous circumstances.
CFA General Group Manager Support Services Kylee Bates, supported by Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Emma Conway presented National Medals to Foster brigade members, David Chapman, Robert Powell, James McIntyre 1st clasp, Ronald Fisher 3rd clasp and Toora’s Ken Roche, Graham Pattie, Michael Benton, and Ray Argento 1st clasp.
A CFA Life Membership was presented to Bryan Duffus of Fish Creek & District Fire Brigade. Bryan first joined CFA as a junior over 60 years ago and has diligently served in the brigade, undertaking a range of duties including 1st Lieutenant and general firefighting.
“Bryan is highly regarded by members within the brigade and the Group and by members of neighbouring brigades,” A/ACFO Conway said.
“He has regularly acted as a conduit between the brigade to other parts of the community and assists with driving duties at Foster Fire Brigade where he is equally as highly regarded.
“New members and those less experienced have often asked his counsel on operational and procedural matters.”
Closing out the evening, saw outgoing Toora brigade manager Bob Morris presented with a certificate signed by his friends and colleagues at Toora Fire Brigade thanking him for his dedication in the role. Lieutenants Alex Berry and Nigel Plowright cut the celebratory cake that was generously donated to the brigade by a grateful community member.
Special certificates and Brigade Life Memberships were presented by Foster Captain David Jones for Brian Mellor, James McIntyre and Paula Crossley, while service medals recognising dedicated years of service to CFA and communities was presented by Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Emma Conway to:
Fish Creek & District
Mike Devine (years)
Denis McGrath (5 years)
Ian Conn (Hedley, 40 years)
Andrew Hamilton (25 years)
Daniel Bugg (10 years)
Tim Wright (Toora, 5 years)
John Poletti (25 years)
David Chapman (15 years)
Ray Argento (Toora, 35 years)
Geoff Thompson (40 years),
Terry Williams (20 years)
Alan O’Neil (Welshpool, 5 years)
Mick Dorling (60 years)
Paul Austin (35 years)
Sean Taylor (Yanakie, 15 years)
Bryan Duffus (60 years, and CFA Life Membership)
Brian Mellor (35 years)
David Jones (45 years)
Reg Williams (70 years)