Volunteer pair mark 75 years of service

Indigo Lemay-ConwaySound Telegraph
Graeme and Shirley Oliver with their awards
Camera IconGraeme and Shirley Oliver with their awards Credit: Picture: Indigo Lemay-Conway

A Baldivis couple who have volunteered for a combined 75 years with the local fire and emergency service have been recognised for their giant achievement.

Shirley, 78, and Graeme Oliver, 80, were honoured last month with a Certificate of Distinction, an award for excellence in emergency services.

South Coastal district officer Terry Wegwermer organised the award with the regional office to show their appreciation for the Olivers’ dedicated service.

“Shirley has been instrumental in supporting the brigade in undertaking a number of roles in communications and office bearing positions over the years,” Mr Wegwermer said. “Graeme has been ... supporting new recruits and fellow firefighters with his understanding and expertise of heavy vehicle operation.

“They’ve both always demonstrated a friendly approach and can-do attitude and always acted with humility, which can be seen with their ongoing significant contribution to the community and that’s why the department and the region wished to recognise that.”

Mrs Oliver said the couple were not told about the award and it was given to them as a surprise.

“It was kept from us, but to get something from DFES, it means something, it’s something to be proud of,” she said.

Mr Oliver said he joined the Baldivis Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services in 1978 to give back to the community.

“Without volunteers, this world would never carry on, so if you can get recognised for something like that I feel like you’ve done your job” he said.

“I’ve stepped down now from my bigger roles because I can’t keep up with the young fellas, they come and go in seven or eight minutes, it takes me that long to put my boots on. So I’ve taken on the role of station keeper instead”.

Mrs Oliver said she had planned to retire, but the service convinced her to stay as their Incident Control Vehicle team leader.

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do here, you know, if I had to go back and do it all over again I would,” she said.

Shirley is about to mark 32 years with the BVFES, and Graeme 43 years.

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