110 years of ser­vice for the CFA

Euroa Gazette - - NEWS - By PAM ZIERK-MA­HONEY

VOL­UN­TEERS are the back­bone of rural com­mu­ni­ties.

And it is those vol­un­teers who save lives and prop­erty when the bush­fire sea­son hits.

Two of Creighton Creek’s vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers know only too well the im­por­tance of hav­ing vol­un­teers, es­pe­cially those with a wealth of lo­cal knowl­edge- in th­ese times.

Bar­rie Noye and Brian Kelly be­tween them have notched up more than 110 years of vol­un­teer ser­vice with their lo­cal CFA brigade.

That com­mit­ment was re­cently ac­knowl­edged when they were pre­sented with long ser­vice awards - Bar­rie for 60 years and Brian 50.

Creighton’s Creek Rural Fire Brigade was es­tab­lished in 1949 by sep­a­rat­ing from the Gooram brigade, among the ini­tia­tors were long­time res­i­dents Bon Noye and Con Kelly, the fa­thers of cur­rent fire­fight­ers Bar­rie and Brian.

Fol­low­ing in their fa­thers’ foot­steps Bar­rie and Brian have been piv­otal to the suc­cess of the brigade - both be­ing great lead­ers within the brigade and com­mu­nity stal­warts.

Bar­rie reg­is­tered with the brigade as soon as he was of age - but may have been ac­tive long be­fore this time.

As of early 2017 Bar­rie had 62 years of ac­tive mem­ber­ship, dur­ing this time he has held many ranks and of­fice po­si­tions, some for ex­tended lengths of time.

Brian Kelly also reg­is­tered as a young­ster, gain­ing knowl­edge from the lead­ers at the time; mark­ing 50 years with the brigade this year he has also pro­vided lead­er­ship in var­i­ous roles.

“Both men will tell you that it is not about hold­ing a man­age­ment po­si­tion that counts it is be­ing ac­tive in the brigade, do­ing what you can to sup­port and as­sist in times of need,” brigade cap­tain John Chiswell said.

“Their list of of­fice bear­ers and po­si­tions over many years is very im­pres­sive.”

Brian and Bar­rie have fought many fires (too many to count) and can re­call in de­tail many of them.

As well as re­call­ing some of the hor­rific times - of lives lost, stock losses and prop­erty lost - they also have mem­o­ries of the ca­ma­raderie and team work that brings ‘fireys’ to­gether in tough times and in sup­port­ive roles.

Most re­cently the 2014 fires had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the lives of many in the Creighton’s Creek and Gooram ar­eas; both men had suf­fered losses in terms of pas­ture, fenc­ing, and even stock.

Bar­rie’s role at present (in ad­di­tion to be­ing a valu­able fire­fighter) is the brigade’s com­mu­nity safety of­fi­cer; a po­si­tion where he is ac­tive in as­sist­ing res­i­dents in pre­par­ing for the fire sea­son and in un­der­stand­ing po­ten­tial fire be­hav­iour.

The lo­cal knowl­edge that th­ese two men bring to the brigade and to the fire­fight­ing ef­forts is phe­nom­e­nal.

“Know­ing ev­ery inch of ground in the Creighton’s Creek area, and fur­ther afield, is an as­set to the com­mu­nity and vi­tal for the ben­e­fit of other bri­gades com­ing into our area,” Chiswell said.

“Both men are gen­er­ous with their shar­ing of in­for­ma­tion, teach­ing of skills and in coun­selling less ex­pe­ri­enced brigade mem­bers.

“They are highly re­spected for their knowl­edge and skill, and they are the blokes you want be­side you as you head off to fight a fire.”

Af­ter half a cen­tury of vol­un­teer­ing with the CFA, Brian Kelly has cer­tainly seen his fair share of ac­tion and plenty of change in the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“It’s been very re­ward­ing; we’ve seen lots of changes over the years and at times it has been very fruit­ful,” he said.

“We have saved a lot of prop­er­ties.

“We have also seen a lot, but the changes to CFA has also seen the loss of some of the bonds that were there com­pared to say 30 years ago.

“We some­times find it hard to come to grips with; bu­reau­cracy has taken over and there are a lot of is­sues now.”

In May the Creighton’s Creek brigade also cel­e­brated its 68 years com­mit­ment to the com­mu­nity.

Mem­bers held an awards night an un­veiled an hon­our board at its fire shed.

The oc­ca­sion was cel­e­brated with many dig­ni­taries such as Craig Lap­s­ley, Fran­cis Diver ( CFA), Paul Ver­beek ( Brigade ad­min­is­tra­tion sup­port­ive of­fi­cer) and dig­ni­taries from across the re­gion.

A spe­cial men­tion must be made to Anne Noye who re­signed af­ter 16 years as com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer, a po­si­tion she held since 2000.

DED­I­CATED VOL­UN­TEERS: Bar­rie Noye (above) is proud of his 60 years of ser­vice, ac­knowl­edged ear­lier this year with the pre­sen­ta­tion of a ser­vice medal and clasp. While Brian Kelly (be­low) re­ceived his 50year ser­vice medal at the same cer­e­mony.

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