Honouring service: Past and present members of Bungaree CFA were applauded for their dedication to their community. Photo: CAROL SAFFER

Bungaree honours CFA service

October 17, 2019 BY

THIRTEEN members of the Bungaree Rural Fire Brigade have received recognition for time spent volunteering in the community at an event in the town on Saturday night.

Between them, those honoured have racked up 455 years of service to the district, brigade and wider CFA.

Top honours went to Bill Labbett and Kevin Hanrahan who were presented with a CFA Service Medal for 60 years of commitment to the organisation. They were also made life members of the Bungaree Brigade.

Mr Labbett said he was “humbled and honoured.

“I did what I could and I didn’t expect a huge reward for it, this has left me speechless,” he said.

Having joined the brigade in January 1959, Mr Labbett remains an active member and has served as Captain, 1st and 2nd Lieutenant, apparatus officer, communications officer, training coordinator and VFBV delegate.

Joining just under two years earlier than Mr Labbett, in February 1957, Mr Hanrahan is a great supporter of, and competitor in, fire demonstration competitions.

For Mr Hanrahan this time with the CFA wasn’t all hard work and danger. “We had fun in the meantime,” he said.

When the brigade serviced fire extinguishers in the district as a fundraiser, Mr Hanrahan was always ready to assist. He’s also served four years as Lieutenant.

Both men, who farm near Bungaree, have given many hours of service and leadership over their 60 years.

“As a landowner in the town there was an expectation that you would help the community where and whenever you could,” Mr Labbett said. “As a CFA member, our number one responsibility was to preserve life.

“We were good at putting the fires out but we probably didn’t fill in the paper work as we should have.”

Mr Labbett confessed he got back to the fire station after one callout and realised he had left Mr Hanrahan behind.

Mr Hanrahan and his wife Aileen said it was the time away from the family and farm that was hard to bear.

“I once went to attend a house fire and didn’t come back for a week,” Mr Hanrahan said. “But I never begrudged any of it.”

David Lee, Bungaree CFA Captain said the brigade is always on the lookout for new members from within the community.

“As a member you get out what you put in,” he said. “The CFA offers great courses and leadership skills. You can take chainsaw operator courses, driver training and get a truck licence, all necessary for firefighting, but handy knowledge to have anyway.”

Other brigade recipients honoured for service were Ken Smith 15 years, David Lee, Robert Geddes and David Morris 20 years, Dennis Spielvogel 25 years, Susan Labbett and Robert Conway 20 years, Peter Geddes and Heather Trigg 40 years, Colin Boyd 45 years, and Ron Trigg 50 years.