Yesterday marked the eighth anniversary of Black Saturday, an awful day when the forces of nature conspired to create a firestorm in which 173 souls perished. As we reflect on the devastation of that deadly day, we recognise those firefighters who selflessly continue to potentially put themselves in harm’s way to protect life and property. In the Benambra district the fire season to date has been relatively calm but well managed by volunteer and career firefighters in the local area. There have been a couple of fire incidents around the Indigo Valley and Tangambalanga where in excess of 30 tankers, 100 firefighters and at least five water-bombing aircraft were called into action. Amongst the firefighters was a man I am proud to call a friend, a man who has been shielding the community from such blazes for more than 35 years as both a volunteer and staff member.
Country Fire Authority district 24 operations manager Paul King was recognised with the Australian Fire Service Medal on Australia Day. ‘Spider’ told the local paper:
I used to listen out for the siren from school, at Wodonga High School, to bolt when I heard the fire siren.
He is a great role model for the community, testament to those firefighters, both paid and volunteer, who continue to protect our communities across the state and is a more than worthy recipient of this recognition.
Further, condolences to the King family for the loss of ‘Bones’ — another great servant.