On Saturday the 18th of August 2012 the West Gippsland Group of fire brigades enjoyed their 21st annual dinner and presentation night at “Danny’s The Venue” in Warragul. Member brigades consist of: Darnum / Ellinbank, Drouin, Drouin West, Hallora & District, Longwarry & District, Neerim South, Nilma North, Noojee, Trida and Warragul.
The night was opened by Group Officer John Alexander welcoming everyone to the evening. This was followed by the announcement that a prominent person from within the group would be celebrated at the dinner with a “This is your life” style presentation.
Trida Captain Peter King called for long serving Noojee Captain Dawn Thomas to come onto the stage as he gave a brief introduction into Dawn’s entry into the world of Volunteer fire fighting with CFA.
The first of three surprise guests and one of Dawns daughters, Rhonda Anthony was called to speak of her mother and her thoughts of Dawns achievements.
Long serving DSE manager David Vaskess was called next onto the stage to give an account of the close working relationship between DSE and CFA at Noojee forged and nurtured by Dawn over her years as Captain and mentor to the brigade.
Long lost cousin and CFA fire fighter with Koonwarra, Colin Stockdale was the final guest to be called giving some humorous insights into some of the trainings and seminars they have both attended over the years.
Drouin lieutenant Mark Craig spoke of the many strike teams he and Dawn had served together on giving some colourful and humorous tales from times gone by.
Nilma North Captain Ted Osler spoke of the times he and Dawn had shared as members of the Group Management team with particular attention given to the Black Saturday fires and the on going operations within the Divisional command centre over the days following.
Dawn was pleasantly surprised by the presentation and continued to enjoy the rest of the evening where she was presented with a 20 year long service award.
Operation Manager Mark Jones gave a short talk on the relationship between fire-fighting and grizzly bears as seen by himself in
As well as an opportunity for brigades to meet and network the dinner provides brigades with a platform to present their members with awards each year. The following members were presented certificates and awards by Operations Manager Mark Jones and Operations Officer David Chugg with their respective brigade officer:
5 Year: Matthew Driessen and Peter Nelson
10 year: Justin Colby and Martin Fraser
30 Year: Sharyn Gaul, Julie Tyrrell and Barry Gilbert.
5 Year: Charlie Azzopardi
10 Year: Bruce Jewell
15 Year: Ian Smythe
CFA Life Member: Clive Green.
Hallora & District:
5 Year: Joan McGrath and Peter McGrath
10 Year: Garry Morgan and Alan Buckler
15 Year: Dean Alush
20 Year: Gwen Davies and Loris Buckler
CFA Life Member: Roy Sheffield, Terry Hanley, Alan Davies, John Rogers
Longwarry & District:
5 Year: Rod Hurst, Joy Jones, Shirley Large, Sean Scanlon
10 Year: Walter Zurrer
15 Year: Billy Grace
35 Year: Betty Holman
CFA Life Member:
5 Year: Kristen Van Vliet, Helen Newitt, Wayne Croaker
15 Year: Scott Osler
20 Year: Jenny Gray
30 Year: Colin Kent, Ray Van Vliet
5 Year: Claire O’Brien, Stephen Chambers, Greg Mackieson, Jill Mackieson
10 Year: Stephen Heath, Emma Dowling, Sharon Ritting, Roger Ritting, Glenda Smith, Edward Smith.
20 Year: Dawn Thomas
5 Year: Penny Hobbin, Leslie Collins, Julie Ettery, Neville Patterson, Fe Patterson, Peter King, Victoria King, Kerry King, Sophie Nativo, Paul Goulmy, Ian Murray.
5 Year: Steve Venville, Shaun Johnson, Peter Trewin
10 Year: Brian Dalrymple.
The night was finished with a musical show that could only be seen to be believed