Fired up to celebrate volunteers who risk their lives
THE men and women who put their lives on the line during times of disaster will be celebrated later this month.
Gladstone region Rural Fire Service Brigade volunteers will be recognised at an event that is a first of its kind for the area.
Rural Fire Service Day on Saturday will bring the community together for fun and to say thank you, Wartburg Brigade volunteer community educator Judy Ferrari said.
Ms Ferrari said the aim was to give back to the communities of Agnes Waters, Turkey Beach, Rosedale, Lowmead, Bororen, Captain Creek (Miriam Vale group) and Wartburg.
"It's a big community event and all the schools and our local clubs are getting involved," she said.
"There are going to be lots of displays and activities for the kids. There's over 35 market stalls so far, so it's quite a big market. People can support the community and stall holders that way.
"It's the first time all emergency services in this area have come together to celebrate the service of volunteers."
Ms Ferrari said supporting rural fire services was important, because they helped protect properties.
"We educate and teach people how to look after their own properties," she said.
The Salvation Army, Discovery Coast Health and Lifeline are among the groups with displays. Blazer the Koala is going to make an appearance and state member for Burnett Stephen Bennett will also attend.
The event will be held from 10am-2pm at the Baffle Creek Sports and Recreation Grounds on Coast Rd.
For details, please phone 4156 6921.
Rewards spark Simon's passion
THE more you put into something, the more reward you get out of it.
This is exactly what Simon Bensch does on a regular basis.
At 35 years old and married with three kids, the Rural Fire Service Brigade member said volunteering allowed him to give back to the community, learn new skills and meet new people.
"I like the training and the skills you gain," he said.
"Also, the thanks you get from the people in their time of need.
"They're quite grateful."
Mr Bensch said the Rural Fire Service Day was important for volunteers and the community.
"I think we get a fair bit of publicity in the fire season (summer), but people sort of forget about it after the season," he said.
"People aren't always aware of what we provide to the community.
We get 70 calls throughout the year and that can be anything from a small grass fire on the side of the road, to anything that can last three or four days.
"I've done it previously in another state," he said of serving with the Victorian CFA for 14 years.
"It's just something I've continued on with."
Having now been a volunteer in the Tannum Brigade for two and a half years, Mr Bensch knows how much the public need the help.
"We get 70 calls throughout the year and that can be anything from a small grass fire on the side of the road, to anything that can last three or four days."
When he isn't working as the secretary for the brigade, or fighting fires, he's working as an equipment technician at the Boyne Smelters.
Whether it's fighting fires, administration, being a crew leader or even just playing a supporting role, there are plenty of jobs people can do for local rural fire service brigades and the service is keen to hear from new volunteers.