Recognition. More than 200 years of collective service was celebrated at a recent Stanley Fire Brigade presentation dinner.
Eight crew members were acknowledged with awards from the Tasmanian Fire Service, while two National Medals were also presented to Ron Stein and Jason Lovell, recognising long and diligent service of those who risk their lives to protect and assist their communities in times of emergency.
Clocking 40 years of service, brigade chief Milton de Jonge accepted a medal alongside fellow member James Wells who has also reached the milestone.
Joining the brigade as a 17-year-old beside his father, Mr de Jonge’s career as a volunteer firefighter has covered local emergencies and extended to helping neighbouring districts and other emergency crews in times of crisis.
He is now in his second term as chief, carrying the title for 12 years and expecting to step down at the next election in six months’ time.
“It’s time to move on. My body’s not as young as it used to be,” he said of the decision.
In reflecting on his time in the brigade, he recalls when the local BP fuel station (now the Stanley Mini Mart) “burnt flat to the ground”.
“I didn’t know whether to take a step forward or back with that one . . . You do question whether you’re up to it, but you have to have confidence in your equipment and your fellow firefighters.”
Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze.
He said his team’s job is made easier because of a cooperative and supportive community.
“We live in a great little town of Stanley where we’re accepted as volunteers . . . and people are proactive in the upkeep of their properties.”
And has he ever had to rescue a cat from high up in a tree?
“No, never been involved in a cat rescue – but we did have to rescue a dog from the Nut once!”
Mr de Jonge encouraged interested community members along to a fortnightly training session, held at the Marine Esplanade station every second Monday.
“We’re always open to new members – male or female – the door is always open.”
He particularly encouraged the younger generations who were looking to gain new skill sets whilst helping out in their local community to come along.
For more information contact Milton de Jonge on 0418 581 184.
Ron Stein: 15 year Service Badge, National Medal
Jason Lovell: 15 year Service Badge, National Medal
Milton de Jonge (BC): 40 year Service Badge, Certificate for 40 year service
James Wells: 40 year Service Badge, Certificate for 40 year service
Owen Evans: 25 year Service Badge
Robin Searle: 15 year Service Badge
Alan Bradfield: 10 year Service Badge
Stuart Parker: 10 year Service Badge