LOCAL LEGEND: Kogan Rural Fire Brigade’s first officer John Hughes. Pic: Peta McEachern
LOCAL LEGEND: Kogan Rural Fire Brigade’s first officer John Hughes. Pic: Peta McEachern

Generations of firefighting

THREE generations have been working together to give back to the Western Downs community for decades, volunteering at the Kogan Fire Brigade.

Kicking things off, Kogan Rural Fire Brigade’s first officer John Hughes, 71, has been fighting fires for 20 years.

“My daughter is the crew leader, my grandson and granddaughter fight fires, and my great granddaughter is likely to get involved too,” Mr Hughes said.

The New Zealander born firefighter and retired radiographer said volunteering is great for companionship and getting out and about in the community.

“People volunteer for a variety of reasons, some do it because they have the time, others are feeling lonely at home, you’ve got the social side of belonging to a group – you also get to wear a cool uniform and ride in a fire truck which is every little boys dream,” he said.

“You get a feeling that your contributing to the local community… being a rural firefighter is rewarding in itself.”

Volunteer firefighters are invaluable to the community, Mr Hughes said, as there are no full-time firefighters in our region.

“They are crewed by volunteer auxiliary firefighters, so volunteer’s time is actually quite important to the government, although we don’t get paid what we do in certainly valuable,” he said.

“One of the biggest problems with volunteers is that it’s an ageing population, and we really need younger people to step up and take our place – but it requires commitment.”

To get involved contact your local brigade or visit www.rurualfire.qld.gov.au.


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