In the citation for her Australian Fire Services Medal (AFSM) it read: ‘Mrs Steel epitomises CFA values and shows outstanding leadership in all the organisations and groups where she focusses her attentions’.
Joan was awarded the AFSM today as part of 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
“It’s an honour to receive this,” Joan said.
“But I am only one volunteer – we have a whole community of wonderful people who make Wedderburn such a lovely town.”
After her husband became involved with CFA, Joan joined the ladies committee linked to Wedderburn CFA during the 1960s.
But it was during the 80s she became fully entrenched in CFA life as the brigade’s Communications Officer.
“I don’t really know how it came about – I think it was just a role that I was interested in and through growing up in Inglewood, I just had that local knowledge of the district,” Joan said.
At 77 years of age, Joan still remains a Comms Officer for the brigade and the wider Wedderburn Group.
“It’s altered so much since I started, with the Triple Zero system and new technology but I still really enjoy it,” Joan said.
“I just like being able to help people out in strife – we live in such a lovely country town where everyone wants to help each other out and I like being a part of that.”
Aside from CFA, Joan also volunteers her time for the Wedderburn Community House Centre and St Vincent’s de Paul.
“It does keep you busy,” Joan said.
“But we often get people coming into the town, particularly from the city, and they just can’t believe how well the country people work together.”