Volunteer firefighters award their best

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton vfrs award winners of 2021
Camera IconGeraldton vfrs award winners of 2021

In the past year alone, Geraldton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service captain Shane Caratti has rushed out to 110 of the brigade’s 150 calls, willing to put his life on hold and on the line to protect the community.

His commitment to the role was rewarded last Saturday night when he was named best firefighter at the captain’s dinner and presentation night.

The event is an annual awards night for the brigade, which has served Geraldton for more than a century. As well as fire call-outs, Mr Caratti has taken part in many training and community events, including school visits and live demonstrations.

Riley Mole started the year as equipment officer, responsible for ensuring brigade and personal equipment is ready for use.

He has since been promoted to lieutenant, earning him the most improved award. Mr Caratti had particular praise for secretary Ron Winstone, who was named most dedicated.

“He does a lot of work behind the scenes to keep the station running,” he said.

“He’s one of the quiet, unsung heroes of the brigade.”

Mr Winstone has served as a volunteer firefighter for 49 years and has spent the past 25 here in Geraldton.

Despite his age, he still makes a point of attending fire calls.

“People who say it’s child’s play, they’re deluding themselves,” Mr Winstone said.

One award missing from the line-up was best new firefighter, but not for lack of members — volunteer fire brigades are limited to 40 members, and Geraldton has 39. Each member of the brigade also cast a vote for the best member award, which went to Guy Ibister. Mr Mole was one of his many supporters, saying: “He does everything ... just a top bloke all around.”

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