It’s a proud day for the former volunteer from Upper Ferntree Gully. “Primarily I look at it as a reward for the volunteers. I joined as a volunteer when I was 16 and my whole aim was to put something back to the community. I just have the utmost admiration for what the volunteers do and what they give.”
Trevor has served CFA and the community of Victoria diligently for over 45 years. As Chief Officer he provided outstanding leadership, support and stability to volunteers and career firefighters, particularly during the Linton Coronial Inquiry. He worked tirelessly to ensure that the legacy of five firefighters who lost their lives at Linton 1998 would not be lost and that the lessons learned from the Linton fire would benefit future firefighters.
Through Trevor’s leadership, CFA implemented a Safety First program to ensure firefighters understood and managed the risks they faced on the fireground. In addition, he oversaw the implementation of over 120 safety improvements on firefighting vehicles, as well as changes to training and protective clothing and equipment.
Trevor left an indelible mark on CFA through his time as an operational officer – previously known as a regional officer – and as Chief Officer.
“I started in headquarters then moved to Gippsland, the Wimmera, Lilydale, Kerang, Horsham and Sale,” says Trevor. “In those days you just went where you were sent. It was a bit like being a one-man police station. We worked incredible hours, travelling when the volunteers were available and needed us.”
Trevor believes the award is shared with Angela, his three children and two foster children.
“I couldn’t have done any of it without my family – they’ve been a tower of strength. My wife took all the after-hours phone calls and if I went out, she couldn’t go out. She had to be there by the phone.”
Trevor resigned as Chief Officer in 2002 but he’s still a semi-active member of Huntly and now works part time in the Incident Management Training program, supporting the development of new training courses.
As a senior volunteer member and mentor, Trevor continues to contribute at the highest levels of CFA and Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria. He remains a strong advocate for the role of volunteer firefighters in an integrated fire service, and his operational expertise is widely respected and frequently sought by other agencies.
As for career highlights, there are too many to mention. “In the old days,” says Trevor, “it was sitting around a kitchen table and sharing a meal with the volunteers and their families. Those talks really enlightened me.
“I still see some of those volunteers today and I feel very close to them. I’ve seen their children grow up.
“There wasn’t a day I didn’t want to get out of bed and go to work. I’ve been a part of many wonderful things.”