Selfless firey’s dedication unwavering to region
THE damaging effects of the 2019 bushfire season have brought prominence to rural fire bridges across Queensland, and the selfless acts of their volunteers.
Brigades across the Southern Downs were united to serve towns as fires tore through the drought ravaged region.
Massie and District Rural Fire Brigade second officer Nathan Leverett said the stories of the 2019 season are ones that will be remembered forever.
“Last year, especially, a lot of the guys that have been around for years say it was one of the worst,” he said.
“It’s a lot more intensified – an interesting time to be a rural firey.”
An Aldi store assistant by day, Mr Leverett has volunteered at the bridge for four years.
The diversity of jobs and overwhelming community spirit have driven him back to the service each year.
“It’s rewarding definitely – an interesting way to get out of the house and serve the community,” he said.
“Every job is different and one of the reasons (I love it) as well, you form very close friendships with the people you serve with.
“And the community interaction too, that’s been a good one.”
June 7 to 13 is Rural Fire Service week – honouring and highlighting the work of volunteers across the state.
The Massie and District Bridge, which has 40 active members, is always searching for more volunteers from the community.
“We can find a job for anyone – we need to push for people,” Mr Leverett said.
“There are other jobs than running and fighting a fire – we need truck drivers, people back at the shed to support other operations.
“My first officer says there is a job for everyone and that is true. If they can only help one day, I’ll take that one day.”
Predominantly called to assist with bushfires, Mr Leverett said the relationship between volunteer fire bridges and Southern Downs emergency services have worked in their favour when called to jobs.
“It’s a small volunteer community (on the Southern Downs) so we work with all emergency services. Everyone knows one another,” he said.
“If they need a hand, we just do what we can to help.
“Last year, we were called to assist with a land search for the SES – and we were just used as extra bodies in that capacity.”
With no intentions of slowing down anytime soon, Mr Leverett said he will continue to volunteer with the brigade for as long as he can.
“For me, it’ll be a high priority but career and family commitments must come first,” he said.
“It’ll be part of me forever and I’ll always come back.
“I think it’s just that community aspect and a way to give back.”