Recognising Service To The RFS

Written by: The Hilltops Phoenix

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Alan Banks receives his medal, standing with Steph Cooke, Margaret Roles and Trevor Reeves.

Patricia (Pat) Croker and Alan Banks were recognised for their service to the RFS recently.

For her 63 years of service in the Gunnary and Taylors Flat Brigade, Pat was awarded a 60 year medal clasp.

While a member of RFS, Pat served as the brigade secretary and treasurer, communications officer and catering officer.

One of her first experiences with flames was when a fire broke out on a neighbour’s property in 1972.

Pat remembers her late husband, Maurice, running the show and leading trucks onto the fire line.

Over the course of the fire, Pat made sandwiches for the firefighters.

Pat put in a lot of effort when the fire spread from Springfield to Rugby and then on to Crookwell.

Numerous sheep were burned in the fire, which also overran four fire engines.

Although many sheds and outbuildings were burned, no homes were lost. Everything in front of the fire was consumed by it.

As well as preparing meals and supplies for the firefighters, Pat transported fuel in drums to help fill up a lot of trucks at the incident.

When her husband was chosen as the Taylors Flat Brigade’s deputy captain in 1975, the brigade was officially formed.

Pat received a base radio, which she combined with the UHF to communicate critical information and motivate the troops.

She was instrumental in the more recent setup of the Gunnary Catering trailer, which throughout the years has fed numerous exhausted firefighters.

The RFS is forever grateful for her contributions to the organisation.

Alan received his 40 year medal for his 48 years of service with the Frogmore and Gunnary Brigades.

He now serves as the Gunnary Brigade’s Deputy Captain and has previously served as the brigade president and Senior Deputy Captain.

Alan recalls his first significant fire, the Crookwell fire, which started in Taylors Flat, crossed the Lachlan River, and burned all the way to a location not far from Crookwell.

Ten thousand sheep were lost to that fire.

With his father, Les, 15-year-old Alan toiled through the night.

Alan’s father put out fires from the fire truck while Alan blackened the flanking edge of the fire with a backpack.

In the AB 130 International, Alan recalls responding to several fires with a 300-gallon tank that was kept on the family farm near Forest Creek in Frogmore.


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