“I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Brigade and I wouldn’t change it,” said former Captain and President Peter Clark of the Yass River-Nanima Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade after receiving his Life Membership. The presentation preceded the Brigade’s annual general meeting held at their Fireshed on Saturday.

A well-known local and well-loved member of the Brigade, Peter Clark was an active member for 33 years. Peter said the highlight of his time in the Rural Fire Service was working with the community, and that his life membership was about the contributions he has made to this community.

“It’s very satisfying to know that you’re appreciated for the work you’ve done over a long period of time,” he explained.

“I was Captain for 14 years and Deputy Captain for a couple of years before that.”

Current Brigade President Judy Hancock said that Peter was well-loved in their Brigade. “Pete really is a great bloke,” she said.

Peter first joined the RFS during a 1989 fire and says his involvement just continued on from there. He has gained experience protecting people and property from a number of bushfires, one of the worst being the 2003 fires, and has made friendships that have lasted a lifetime. Over the years Peter has watched the Brigade grow into what it is today, with a major milestone being gaining the Fireshed.

“The Brigade itself was not very strong, really, because we had trucks stationed at people’s houses. Once we had the Fireshed built, we could use it as a point for our training and for the community to have,” he recalled.

“Then it’s a real bushfire brigade.”

Peter added the shed also gave the Brigade the ability to conduct meetings and proper training, whereas before it was very difficult because the trucks were stationed all over the area.

Another area he has seen the Brigade change in is the level of accountability and training involved for firefighters.

“Before, we had trucks and we’d pick people up on the way! They might not necessarily have firefighting experience or training but they’d jump on a truck and do the best they could. These days, you’ve got to be trained and qualified,” said Peter.

Peter encourages the community to take the steps to become qualified and get involved in their local Brigade.

“I think anyone who’s interested in being involved with the rural fire service and they live in the area— it’s a great way to meet a lot of people and I’ve made good friends through being involved with the fire brigade.”

Peter still maintains the friendships he made during his time in the RFS and is still involved in training most of the time, he enjoys being on the barbecue at Brigade events these days.

“I’d like to thank the group captains Max Hedges and Ron Hardy.  Both of them have contributed a lot of firefighting experience,” said Peter.

Griffin Palen