Ross joined CFA in 1968 as a volunteer firefighter at Ballarat, before being accepted as a paid firefighter in 1970 – one of only 53 in the state.
“I was one of those people that was able to turn what I thought was a hobby into my lifestyle and career. It was a very sought after position, anyone who was a volunteer at that time aspired to join the service,” Ross said.
Since then Ross has worked at Ballarat City, Geelong City, Doveton, Mildura and then as District 11 region officer (now known as operations manager) for before retiring in 1999. In 2002 he returned to CFA Gippsland as a senior instructor, until earlier this year.
Since retiring as a staff member Ross has continued to contribute as a volunteer and only recently stepped down after two years as captain of Paynesville.
“Although I’m retired I still take a very active interest in my local brigade. I do all the fire equipment maintenance servicing for the brigade and try to pass on all the things that I’ve learnt along the way to other people.”
Ross received his medal at the most recent firefighter graduation, which gave him an opportunity to see the Fiskville facility for the first time in a decade.
“I hadn’t attended a graduation since 1998 and it was spectacular – even better than I’d expected. You become involved with a lot of people through CFA and it was great to see some of them.”
“I joined CFA before Fiskville even existed and never had a recruit course! You learnt on the job. A lot of it came from self-motivation but I was very fortunate to have some cooperative shift mates that assisted me greatly.”
CFA’s Outstanding Service Medal recognises prolonged service distinguished by exceptional performance.