SPE­CIAL TRIB­UTE TO CFA STAL­WART

Pumper en­gine named in hon­our of vol­un­teer

Campaspe News - - FRONT PAGE -

A HIGH hon­our was be­stowed on vet­eran Rochester CFA vol­un­teer Vaughan Thomas re­cently.

He re­ceived a rare trib­ute, with the bri­gade’s new pumper be­ing named in his hon­our.

Mr Thomas, a for­mer bri­gade cap­tain who just turned 76, has been a vol­un­teer for about 55 years and con­tin­ues to men­tor young mem­bers and con­trib­ute to vol­un­teer asso­ciations across the dis­trict.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Mr Thomas has al­ready re­ceived out­stand­ing ser­vice awards from the CFA and a life mem­ber­ship of Vol­un­teer Fire Brigades Vic­to­ria (VFBV), CFA and the Rochester bri­gade.

Cap­tain Luke War­ren said this was the first time the bri­gade had named a pumper in hon­our of a mem­ber.

“We’ve seen other brigades do it and we wanted some­thing spe­cial so Vaughan could ap­pre­ci­ate it,” Cap­tain War­ren said.

“He’s got all those ser­vice awards but we wanted some­thing to set Vaughan apart to recog­nise his great men­tor­ing and lead­er­ship.

“Still to this day he leads our turnouts and he con­tin­ues to show ex­cep­tional lead­er­ship in the bri­gade.

“As cap­tain I still look to Vaughan for ad­vice and knowl­edge.”

Mr Thomas ad­mits he be­came emo­tional when the nam­ing hon­our was an­nounced but says he vol­un­teers for the com­rade­ship and serv­ing the com­mu­nity.

“My grand­fa­ther was a fire­man for the bri­gade and I loved the way he talked about it,” he said.

“Back when I started, we had a ru­ral

‘ I’ve been away on a lot of strike teams and seen a lot of ter­ri­ble stuff but when that hap­pens the big fam­ily to­gether.’ comes — Vaughan Thomas

and ur­ban bri­gade. I was cap­tain when we be­came the Rochester fire bri­gade.

“Ev­ery­thing has changed for the bet­ter and we’ve got big­ger and bet­ter equip­ment, but the old days were not as dras­tic as you some­times hear.”

Mr Thomas has con­trib­uted to the CFA vol­un­teer ef­fort in times of dis­as­ter lo­cally, around Vic­to­ria and in­ter­state.

“I’ve been away on a lot of strike teams and seen a lot of ter­ri­ble stuff but when that hap­pens the big fam­ily comes to­gether,” he said.

Mr Thomas re­mains ac­tive with the ju­nior bri­gade and in sup­port­ing younger mem­bers.

“I just love do­ing it and it’s good to see the young ones com­ing through; we’ve got a vi­brant young team,” he said.

“The fu­ture in our area is very good but the fu­ture of the over­all CFA wor­ries me a bit now; we need more sup­port for the vol­un­teers.”

Mr Thomas’ wife, Norma, has been in the ladies aux­il­iary for 40 years and is a life mem­ber.

VFBV chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Ford said vol­un­teers like Mr Thomas were the back­bone of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. “As one of the most fire-prone places in the world, Vic­to­ria’s ex­cel­lent in­te­grated CFA model pro­vides a crit­i­cally im­por­tant surge ca­pac­ity that de­liv­ers a ready work­force of pro­fes­sion­ally trained and equipped vol­un­teers, able to step up and re­spond any­where in the state and even in­ter­state in times of dis­as­ter,” Mr Ford said.

For the Rochester and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties, Vaughan Thomas has been a valu­able leader.

While such an hon­our is an ex­cep­tional achieve­ment, it is not sur­pris­ing it was given to Mr Thomas. Hav­ing spent al­most three-quar­ters of his life in ser­vice to the fire bri­gade, all in vol­un­teer­ing, there is no real way to truly give thanks.

Vet­eran Rochester CFA vol­un­teer Vaughan Thomas has re­ceived a rare trib­ute, with the bri­gade’s new pumper be­ing named in his hon­our.

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