Lifestyle: 100 Years of Service

Shannon BochenekManjimup-Bridgetown Times

Two of Manjimup’s longest-serving fire and rescue volunteers are approaching a combined 100 years of service.

Former captains John Jonker and David Anderson joined the brigade’s running team in 1968 and 1969 and have not stopped since.

David described the running team as “the competition side of the fire brigade”.

“You’ve got an old cart, and it’s got two big wheels on it,” John explained.

“You’re running against another town.

“You have a hose and you run down a track and it sort of peels off the back of the cart.

“Then you hook it onto a hydrant and squirt it onto a disc, which gives you a time.”

The pair reflected on the most memorable moments as volunteers and teammates, of which there were many, both positive and negative.

“There was one old bloke that lived over the road,” David recalled.

“From the time the siren started until we drove out that door, he used to time us.

“And those Fremantle and Kalgoorlie trips with the running team, they were really memorable,” David laughed.

In a more sombre memory, the men recalled attending emergency rescue situations.

“A lot stay in your memory, but you can’t afford to dwell on it because you know the next one’s gonna be around the corner,” David said.

John said on occasion those they helped had written in afterwards and extended thanks or said “job well done,” and it was always great to hear.

“I think it’s a great organisation to be in,” John said.

“Just helping the community is the main thing.”

The men said most years the brigade received between 70 and 75 call outs, with most of the volunteers averaging between eight to 10 hours of service each month.

At an award ceremony in 2017 John and David both received badges recognising their official 45 years of service with the 67-year-old brigade.

John and David’s awards contributed to the total 205 years of service recognised on the night.

The pair said the brigade was always welcoming of new members and said with a half a century under their belts they would now play a largely mentoring role.

“We’ll probably pull back a little bit, a lot of the young guys will come up now,” John said.

“We’ll give them our knowledge and try and help a bit and then sort of let them get on with it.”

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