Ron Eggleston’s involvement with the Country Fire Association (CFA) spans 60 years and two fire brigades and, if you ask him, it has taken up the biggest part of his life and he would not have it any other way.
“My boss at the butcher shop where I had worked since I was 14 was the foreman at the Rutherglen CFA and had been waiting for the day I turned 18 to sign me up,” he told the Free Press.
“It was pretty much an order because they needed more men as they were low on numbers.
“He wasn’t impressed when I didn’t turn up to the recruitment meeting but I made sure I was at the next one, that’s for sure.”
Mr Eggleston went on to volunteer with the Rutherglen CFA for 16 years before later joining the Wahgunyah brigade where he has been ever since.
His 60 years of continuous service was recently recognised and he was presented with a 60 year pin.
“I’m a volunteer firefighter so I have never been paid, but that doesn’t matter to me as it’s been one of the best and definitely the biggest part of my life and I would not change it for anything,” Mr Eggleston said.
“I enjoy the camaraderie and the fact that it doesn’t matter if you are a solicitor, butcher or a farmer because everyone is treated as equal.”
Mr Eggleston enjoyed the responsibility and status when he rose to the rank of captain with the Wahgunyah brigade, having served as captain for 10 years and was later made lieutenant for four years.
He has recently taken a backseat and returned to the position of a firefighter.
Mr Eggleston recalls one of the worst fires he attended was up in the mountains at Eldorado that involved camping with the fire trucks for three days and three nights to combat the blaze.
His wife Heather said she could not be more proud of her husband and his achievement in serving the community for six decades.
“There have been a lot of call-outs at all times of the day and night,” she said.
“He has done a great job and I could not be any prouder of him.”