Eunice Cartner was one of the first women to join Rochester CFA as a volunteer back in the mid-80s, and recently she was honoured with a National Medal.
The 73-year-old first joined the station’s Ladies Auxiliary before joining as a volunteer a few years later.
But she recalls it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“It was good, it was challenging, but if I can say, some of the older gentleman at first didn’t quite approve.”
But she said times have changed a lot since then.
“Back then women didn’t know anything about trucks, or parts, or their workings or anything like that.
“But the women coming through now, they know all the ins-and-outs of every truck.
Her late husband was honoured with a 40-year medal just before his passing, and Ms Cartner said the brigade has always been very supportive.
“It’s like a second family.”
While Ms Cartner stopped her operational duties a little over a decade ago, she remains active at the brigade.
She said it was a shock and honour to be awarded a National Medal, which recognises prolonged exposure to hazard in the service of the community.
“Unbeknownst to me, CFA invited my family along to the ceremony.”
“I was quite shell shocked, but it was very nice.”
“I like to stay involved with the brigade. I still go to meetings and help out where I can.”