It was a bittersweet 50th anniversary for the St Patrick’s River Fire Brigade on Sunday.
The celebration was moved to an earlier time so that second officer Angie Mills could attend, before she moved into palliative care to face the last stages of her terminal cancer with her family.
It was an appropriate final day in the region for Mrs Mills, who was dedicated to the fire brigade and was loved by the other volunteers, said second officer Ric Rees.
“Her family rallied around at the medal presentation,” she said.
“It was a sad day but a nice day, as it will probably be her last outing.
“We wanted to make sure it was a day that she could enjoy.”
Her husband and son are also volunteers with the St Patrick’s River Fire Brigade.
Mr Rees said every member provided a valuable service to the community.
“Our district covers Nunamara to the Sideling and Mt Barrow to Mr Arthur,” he said.
“There’s 220 houses that are looked after by our brigade, and it gives the local residents peace of mind knowing we’re there.
“It covers that huge area of vegetation between the two areas, 16 kilometres by 19 kilometres. It might only be 220 houses but it’s quite a big area.”
Eighteen members of the brigade were presented at the ceremony with two absent.
All of the volunteer firefighters will receive a jubilee medal in recognition of the brigade’s 50 years.
That includes one member who has been with the St Patrick’s River brigade since the very beginning, Neville Talbert, who was celebrating 50 years of service along with the station.
“Over the years he has been one of the major members behind the brigade,” said Mr Rees.
The medals were presented by brigade chief Brian Medcraft, except for Mr Medcraft’s own medal, which was presented by Mr Rees.
He said it was a day of complicated emotions for the volunteers, who were proud to receive their medals at the same time as they were saying goodbye to Angie Mills.
“It was a sad moment,” Mr Rees said.
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