And for this service to local government and the Bass Coast Shire community, Bruce was today awarded a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division.
A volunteer of Kernot Fire Brigade for 58 years, Bruce is also a life member and during his operational years, held many positions, including captain.
“When I joined the bush fire brigade there weren’t really any rules or restrictions, everyone just had to help themselves,” Bruce said.
“I remember we had an old army truck that carried 44 gallon drums and everyone would just go and fill up their knapsacks and off they’d go – it was very primitive.”
Bruce said a lot had changed during his time at the brigade.
“It’s really evolved since my day,” he said.
“In the early days I gave a lot of time to the brigade, not so much now but I’m still really interested.”
Bruce said growth had been one of the biggest challenges for his brigade and the wider Southern Metropolitan Region.
He said during his time, Kernot had moved to be a satellite station of Grantville due to growth in the area.
“That’s just where the population moved and it’s still growing,” Bruce said.
As well as volunteering for CFA, Bruce also gives his time to the Rotary Club of Wonthaggi, the Wonthaggi Probus Club, Woodleigh Vale Red Cross Unit and Kernot Uniting Church, just to name a few.
He was also a Bass Coast Shire councillor for 18 years, all on top of his full-time job as a dairy farmer. Bruce’s farm is now being passed down to the fourth generation of Campbell’s.
“It was busy but I never really thought about it too much,” Bruce said.
“The council was even a bit of a ‘love job’ in the beginning, before we started getting allowances for things like travel.
“But I do it because it’s a way of helping out one another – and I love the fact that the fire brigade was formed by a group of volunteers with that in mind.”