HELP­ING HAND

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - SHAUN McMANUS

A DER­WENT Val­ley vol­un­teer fire­fighter has been named a fi­nal­ist in the Tas­ma­nian Vol­un­teer­ing Awards in not one, but two cat­e­gories — for his work with two dif­fer­ent groups.

Lach­lan res­i­dent Dal­las Baker, 73, was a fi­nal­ist in the emer­gency ser­vices cat­e­gory last month for his work with the Lach­lan Fire Brigade at the vol­un­teer­ing awards.

He was also a fi­nal­ist in the her­itage and tourism award for his ef­forts with the Friends of Deal Is­land Wild­care.

The vet­eran vol­un­teer is the sec­ond fi­nal­ist from the Lach­lan Fire Sta­tion in as many years — af­ter fire chief David Hill was nom­i­nated last year — and he has no plans to slow down.

“When I die I’ll stop, that’s my plan,” Mr Baker said. “My wife would like me to stop, but I can’t.”

Mr Baker has been vol­un­teer­ing on Deal Is­land, north of Tas­ma­nia, with his wife, Shirley, since 2002.

The cou­ple has done four three-month stints as care­tak­ers on the is­land, along with 20 two-week work­ing bees.

Mr Baker was named Ci­ti­zen of the Year for Bris­bane in 1989, and re­ceived the Medal of the Or­der of Aus­tralia in 1998 be­fore mov­ing to Lach­lan in 2004.

“When we got to Tas­ma­nia my wife said ‘It’s time you stopped vol­un­teer­ing’,” he said.

Be­fore too long, though, the lo­cal fire ser­vice came knock­ing, and Mr Baker has since risen to the rank of Dis­trict Of­fi­cer for the Lower Der­went.

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