Thankyou to our firies

Thankyou to our firies

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Half of Jarrahdale turned up at the tavern on Sunday to thank local bushfire brigade volunteers after “the season from hell”.

Jarrahdale Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade Captain Sarah Davies said the past five months had been ‘full on’.

In the 13 years she’s been a volunteer with the brigade she said she’s “never seen weather like this”.

“It was an early start for us, with the Serpentine fire in November – normally we’re not busy until after Christmas,” she said.

“We were working on Christmas Day in Keysbrook.”

She said brigade members had selflessly put up their hand to work important holidays without a second thought.

She estimated the brigade was nearing 70 call-outs this season – double the norm.

“Our trucks have been out continuously, for four to five days at a time, and we’ve been able to crew them for most of that time,” she said.

“The members of our brigade have really stood up and given their time generously.”

Despite their mammoth effort, the season isn’t over yet, with temperatures pushing 35 degrees this week and the Prohibited Burning Period extended again, until April 28.

Local Member Hugh Jones also paid tribute to the generosity of the volunteers’ families in his speech.

“Everyone loves a firie, but no one loves them more than their families,” he said.

Local identity George Parry organised the Sunday session, facilitated by the Jarrahdale Tavern, which was billed as a “night to meet the brigade and thank their families”.

Event organiser George Parry

“There are 32 volunteer firefighters here in Jarrahdale,” Mr Parry said.

“And a lot of them are FIFO. Putting this on in recognition of their service was important because, often when they come home, they’re called out and don’t get to spend time with their kids, their partners and their families.

“I didn’t expect such a big reaction from the community, but they deserve it.”

A ‘thankyou’ banner lovingly decorated by students from Jarrahdale Primary welcomed the guests of honour.

Fire brigade vollies and their families were treated to a meal courtesy of local member Hugh Jones, the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, Alcoa, and the Byford and Districts Bendigo Bank.

Raffle prizes were also donated by an impressive number of local businesses and community members, including a painting from local artist Brian Phillips and a genuine bottle of French champagne.

Local artist Brian Phillips donated a beautiful painting of the Gooralong Brook Bridge. Pictured with Brigade Captain Sarah Davies.

Proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets went onto a bar tab for the firies and their families. And Mr Parry was able to hand over an additional $1000 to the brigade as a token of gratitude.

A total of 32 gift vouchers valued at $50 each was donated by the Jarrahdale Aliens (tavern members), and Wanliss Street residents – neighbours to the brigade.

“Pensioners, unemployed – they didn’t think twice about handing over $50 for our firies,” George said.

“It really puts a tear in my eye.”

Local musicians also volunteered their talents for the event: Stuey Nugent, Philo and Hayden McGlynn took to the stage alongside The Understudies – Jarrahdale’s newest band which features two current brigade volunteers and their family members.

The Understudies – Jarrahdale’s newest rock band featuring members of the brigade.

Captain Davies said she was ‘really overwhelmed’ by the effort that had gone into the event.

“We’ve got a great little community here,” she said.

“I just want to thank George for organising and the tavern for facilitating, and all the people who donated.

“And it’s quite uplifting to have the community behind us like this.”

Mr Parry has said the thankyou event was considered a resounding success, with the tavern kitchen making over 500 meals on Sunday – easily doubling their usual service.

And there are loud calls to make it into an annual event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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