PHOTOS: Firefighters thanked for protecting community
AFTER a horrendous six months of bushfires, Gladstone's rural volunteer firefighters have been recognised for protecting the community.
Three volunteers were recognised for their decade-long service while five awards were handed out to brigades and individuals at the fourth annual Gladstone QFES Volunteer Conference at Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre.
The event saw volunteers from around the Gladstone Region meet to reflect on the year, and discuss the issues and opportunities moving forward.
Director for Rural Fire Service in Gladstone, Craig Magick, said he was proud of what the volunteer brigades had done in trying situations.
"We've gone from a massive fire season into a flooding situation, where our volunteers not only assisted, but they dropped everything to help the community of Townsville," he said.
"We have around 80 volunteers from Gladstone as far down as Baffle Creek and out to Wowan, so a fair representation across the area.
"We had a number of QFES medals awarded for 10 years' service to those members and we had two people from Colosseum and one from Tannum receive those medals."
In addition to those medals, awards were handed out to Brigade of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year, Operation Coolburn Award (bushfire mitigation) and Area Innovation Award.
Taking home the Volunteer of the Year award was first officer of Turkey Beach and group officer of the Miriam Vale group, Errol Noye.
He said it was an unexpected shock to be recognised so highly.
"It's a big surprise, it's great to get accolades but you don't do it for that," he said.
"I've been in the brigade 15 years now working my way up through the ranks, and really enjoyed most the camaraderie with the group.
"It's all about teamwork and working to a common cause.
"If you do that, you can get over anything."