Firemen leave big boots to fill

Cambridge Fire Chief Don Gerrand, centre, with retiring firemen Don Weinberg, left, and Andrew Goodwin.

A sizeable chunk of experience is departing the Cambridge Volunteer Fire Brigade as two of its long-standing members retire.

Don Weinberg and Andrew Goodwin have jointly amassed more than 66 years’ service with the brigade. They are leaving ‘big boots to fill’, said Cambridge fire chief Don Gerrand.

“They’re ‘old school’ … always turn up, are always willing to do their bit for the community.  It’s hard to beat that kind of commitment,” he said.

First to go is Don Weinberg, who officially signed off after 31 years on December 31.  He joined because he was looking for something where he could pitch in with the community and he’s loved almost every moment.  “It’s a big commitment, make no mistake, but I’ve done my time.”

Fellow retiree Andrew Goodwin draws a line under his 35 years plus on February 27.  He joined his dad Keith in the brigade and says there’s nothing to match it anywhere. “This is one of the best brigades in the country. The workload keeps going up – we’ve had over 68 calls already this year, and over 460 last year. That a huge increase on numbers from when I joined.”

Both men have been involved in some of the region’s biggest fire events and have helped pass on their knowledge to newer and younger members. They say what’s learned at the brigade instils in its members a sense of commitment, camaraderie and loyalty that filters through to other parts of their lives, making them better all-round members of society.  They also praised the business community for supporting the brigade and enabling members to leave work at the sound of the siren.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of the wider community,” said Don.

Don Gerrand was the Cambridge News’ Person of the Year in 2021

Andrew said that whatever a member puts into the brigade comes back two-fold in terms of satisfaction.  “It’s like having another family.”

Fire chief Don said the departure of the two men leaves a couple of gaps in volunteer numbers. Anyone who lives locally, can respond to callouts during the day, and is prepared to commit to the brigade is welcome to contact him on 0274 947 362.

Read: Don humbled by award.

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