Rural Fire Service (RFS) Week 2021 was officially launched at the Rocksberg Moorina Rural Fire Station today.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan MP said RFS Week is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the amazing work of RFS volunteers.
“This week we pay tribute to the incredible dedication and resilience of our more than 30,000 RFS volunteers,” Mr Ryan said.
“Our RFS volunteers give up time they may otherwise spend with family and friends to dedicate to activities, such as emergency response, training, helping communities to prepare for bushfires and protecting their communities when disaster strikes.
“Every bushfire season is a reminder to us all of the valuable work undertaken by our RFS volunteers.
“I thank our RFS volunteers and staff for their sacrifice and contribution.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Greg Leach said it was a privilege to recognise the volunteers for their hard work.
“One of the ways we recognise our volunteers during RFS Week is through our Volunteer of the Year awards. This year we have also introduced the Young Volunteer of the Year Award because these inspiring young people are the future,” Mr Leach said.
“This year’s two state winners include a volunteer at the start of her RFS career and another who is retiring after more than two decades of service, both of whom are perfect examples of our diverse volunteer community.”
Congratulations to State Volunteer of the Year, Booyan Brigade’s First Officer David Spratling, who volunteered with the RFS for 21 years before hanging up his boots earlier this year.
David received the award for operational excellence in his role as First Officer and his dedication and commitment to the Booyan Rural Fire Brigade and the local community.
David said he was humbled by his nomination.
“No one puts out a fire on their own. It’s always a team effort,” David said.
“I joined the RFS all those years ago as a way to meet people in the area.
“It has led to a long career encompassing everything from local and interstate deployments through to training new recruits.
“There are skills I’ve learned that have served me well in other areas of my life.”
The inaugural State Young Volunteer of the Year Award was won by Wanda Kropp from Hazeldean Brigade.
Wanda has been a member of the brigade for 12 months after completing a school-based program to earn her Certificate II in Public Safety (Firefighting Operations).
In that time, she has proven to be an exemplary ambassador for RFS, being nominated to attend the Emergency Services Cadets Escape Week and taking on the Brigade Secretary role.
Wanda was nominated for her extensive and valued contribution and for showing positivity in her actions and outlook.
“When I signed up, I had no idea what I was getting into, but I really wanted to challenge myself,” Wanda said.
“Joining the RFS changed my life. It has taught me patience, endurance and helped me build confidence.”