GEORGE Grant of Neergabby has been recognised for his years of volunteer firefighting and his mentoring of other bushfire brigade volunteers with an Australian fire service medal.
Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said Mr Grant joined the Gingin West Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade in 1963, clocking up 60 years of firefighting and along the way using his knowledge to mentor those around him.
In June 1987, he was presented with a commendation for brave conduct for rendering assistance to another volunteer firefighter.
At the Shire of Gingin’s award ceremony on Australia Day President Wayne Fewster said Mr Grant was born on November 29 in 1946 and was inspired by his father Alf Grant to fight bushfires when he was 14-years-old.
“This led him towards a lifetime of outstanding service to his local community, the Shire of Gingin and assisting throughout the state when necessary,’’ he said.
“During his tenure at the Gingin West brigade, George held many positions, including captain, lieutenant, fire control officer and deputy bush fire control officer, a role he relinquished in 2018 ‘to give the young ones a go’.
“So diligent and committed is he to the team, that he had a UHF service radio fitted to his private work vehicle, so that he could carry out incident management operations while out on a job drilling water bores.’’
Cr Fewster said this strategy was particularly valuable when in 2015 the Shire of Gingin had two level 2 incidents running simultaneously and he was not only a responder but a ground controller too.
“He has also fought blazes outside his district, including 12hr shifts battling the devastating 2021 Wooroloo fire.’’
He said Mr Grant’s assistance to another firefighter whose life was in danger – for which he received a commendation for brave conduct – highlighted his high regard for safety of self and others during emergencies.
“George has been an outstanding leader in his community through his dedication to service and care of others in his volunteer roles,’’ Cr Fewster said.
“His guidance has ensured the next generation of volunteer bush firefighters is well prepared for the task and they have appropriate vehicles and equipment to keep them safe.’’
In response Mr Grant said it had been a privilege to serve the community of Gingin as a volunteer.
“A special thank you must go to our dedicated volunteers who I have worked alongside over the years,’’ he said.
“These men and women give their time to keep our community safe and I thank them for their hard work, friendship and support.
“Not possible without them – they are the best of the best.
“My thanks also to the Gingin Shire bush fire executive committee members past and present with a big thank you to Herb Elliot and Murray Hyne for their support over the many decades we have worked together.
“Ted Martin, Basil Dewar and Alf Grant formed the Gingin West Fire Brigade in the early 60s.
“I attended these early meetings and have been a brigade member since that time.’’
Mr Grant said thanks to the commitment of volunteers and the leadership of captain James Morton Gingin West was one of the strongest volunteer brigades in the region.
“James has asked that I remain a member of the brigade and I am happy to continue to do so.
“Ted Basil and Alf would be pleased to see the Gingin West Bush Fire Brigade today.’’
He said there were a few people he needed to give a special mention.
“To Meryl Nolan for her never ending support and patience, for sorting my dyslexic hand writing when doing firebreak inspections by helicopter or on ground, at meetings and much more, could not imagine doing the job without Meryl.
“To Gloria Hyne who assisted me and the brigades with fearless determination for the best outcomes for volunteers and community in general.
“Our past Shire of Gingin CEO Simon Fraser (deceased), our past CBFCO Max Borwick (deceased) who with others brought the brigade’s equipment to a modern standard.
“Their priority always focussed on the safety of the volunteers and community – again it has been a privilege to work with these people.
“My last thank you is to my family, to Bronte and David who had a disappearing dad for all of their childhood and more recently to Zahra and Lily who have experienced a little of the same.
“To Sal who has supported me in everything I have chosen to do in life – without her it would not have been possible.’’