Tinonee Rural Fire Service member, Bert Bennett was awarded with life membership of the Rural Fire Service on Tuesday, July 14.
The presentation took place at the brigade's first meeting since lockdown due to the pandemic, with proper adherence to social distancing rules and some 15 members attending via Zoom.
Bert has been a member of the Tinonee brigade since transferring from Kurrajong Heights in 2006 when he and his wife Linda moved to Mondrook. Two years later he also joined the Mid Coast Community Engagement Brigade.
He has held varying positions in the Tinonee brigade including training officer, permit officer, equipment officer, community engagement officer, RFSA representative, and deputy captain.
In the Mid Coast Community Engagement Brigade Bert has also undertaken various roles, including as convenor of the Bush Fire Risk Management Team, convenor of the Preparation and Presentation of Fire Wise Information and the establishment of fire wise groups, member of Mid Coast RFS Secondary School Cadet Training Group having trained in excess of 1000 local cadets, and member of the district manager's Advisory Committee for the delivery of the Current Bush Fire Management Plan to 92 Mid Coast District brigades.
From 2009 to 2013 Bert was part of a team that visited more than 5000 property owners to discuss the then newly introduced Bush Fire Survival Plan.
"During the November/December Black Summer 2019/2020 fires Bert's extensive knowledge of our local brigade area, and the high-risk areas within, allowed him to set up a forward communications post in his private vehicle," Tinonee Rural Fire Brigade president, Alan Steber said.
"He ventured out before, during and after the fire front approached to warn property holders of impending danger, check on their preparedness and offer safety advice.
"Many messages of thanks have been received from those community members, not least those from Camp Memories who appreciated Bert's early call to abandon the camp on the day they were to start. All tents were up, food organised, plans in place, but the fire was coming so Bert called it. They lost sheds and tents and equipment but no lives.
"His contribution to Tinonee Brigade over 13 plus years he has been a member has been exceptional and we want to thank him for his dedication to our community and our brigade," Alan said.