These five men have dedicated several decades of their life and precious time with their loved ones to help protect the local community in times of dire emergency.
As former and current members of the Roleystone Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade, these men, plus current president Rod Winstanley, were recognised this week for their volunteer services to the brigade and the wider community, one of who signed up when the brigade was just finding its feet.
The volunteers, Don Winstanley, Bill Samson, Noel Plowman, Robert Littman, Rod Winstanley and Rob Van Uden will each receive a certificate of recognition and a commemorative badge for dedicating 25 years or more of service to one organisation at the brigade’s annual dinner later this year.
For Don Winstanley, his volunteer career started as a lieutenant at a time when the organisation struggled with only six members and little equipment.
“I got married that year and we had a junior on the way and I don’t know whether I thought this was my way of getting out while I can,” he said.
“I was a lieutenant for three or four years and then I went up to fire control officer and captain, because in those days you had two titles because there wasn’t enough people to take all the titles.”
As the brigade gained more members Mr Winstanley’s position continued to change, serving as fire control officer, chief fire control officer, president, vice president and lastly treasurer before retiring from the organisation.
Having always been an avid helper for a number of different organisations, Mr Winstanley said the opportunity to volunteer would never have been possible without the support of the wives and families behind them.
“Whenever there was a fire, the wives got on the phone and they would join up at my place or someone else’s and make sandwiches for us and bring them out to us,” he said.
Former captain and current firefighter Noel Plowman said the brigade has given him a great life and many friendships within the Roleystone area.
“I joined in August 1980 but I didn’t actually sign a form until 1982,” he said.
“I was building my house at the time and my neighbour said to me that they were short on people and he said ‘if you are not doing anything for the next couple of hours, we need some help’.
“He threw me a pair of overalls and off I went.”
Mr Plowman said he would continue volunteering until his body says stop.
“Once I believe I am becoming an incumbent out on the fire ground then that’s when I will hang up my overalls and stop,” he said.
“I don’t want to be a burden to any crew that I am working with.”