Branyan Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Caitlyn Simpkins-Field has been recognised for her dedication to the organisation and the local community at a special awards ceremony today.
The Rural Fire Service Week celebration honoured the local woman with the prestigious State Young Volunteer of the Year Award, presented to an individual between 16 and 25 years who has consistently demonstrated an outstanding voluntary commitment to Queensland.
It was a proud moment for Caitlyn, who said she had been chosen out of thousands of RFS members from right across the State.
“When I got the call I thought… wait, but there are so many others out there!” she said.
“It was a really great feeling.”
Caitlyn started with the Branyan Rural Fire Brigade about three years ago and said the comradery and the opportunity to help local people were some of the best parts about her role.
“I love being able to help the community and our brigade is just wonderful,” she said.
“We all come together as one.”
The mateship is important to Caitlyn, who said a strong brigade was needed when being called out to big emergencies, like the Woodgate fires of 2019.
“During my three years we have helped a lot in the community, one of the biggest natural disasters we attended was the Woodgate fires,” she said.
“There were plenty of emotions – sadness and fear.
“When you are driving in the middle of the road with flames on both sides of you it can be frightening, but you also feel happiness to be able to help those communities impacted.”
Deputy Commissioner for QFES Mike Wassing presented Caitlyn her award at today's event and said she was one of the many amazing local volunteers and staff who were dedicated to supporting the region.
“Today here in Bundaberg we have well over 300 years of service that we have been able to acknowledge,” he said.
“Caitlyn's contribution goes above and beyond – she has been very active in the local brigade and is one of the core people not only in her brigade but also in the community.
“We have over 30,000 volunteers throughout the state so for Caitlyn to be awarded State Young Volunteer of the Year is an amazing achievement.”
Caitlyn was one of twenty-eight dedicated Bundaberg volunteers acknowledged in the medal presentation as part of Rural Fire Service Week.
She said brigades were always looking for new members and encouraged others to give it ago.
“I joined the RFS for the opportunity to help our community in times of need, whether it’s on the fire ground or in an Incident Control Centre,” she said.
“For someone thinking of joining, attend a local open day – it’s fun and informative.
“Go along to your brigade’s training day or night where you'll learn a lot and find out if you’ll enjoy it.”
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