Adam Walmsley has taken over from Andrew Downes as the Captain of the Gerringong RFS.
He joined the brigade nine years ago, when he and his wife Fiona Weir moved down to continue the farming tradition at her family’s farm, Buena Vista.
“My father-in-law had an application form pinned to the fridge when we arrived so I don’t think there was ever any doubt,” he says.
“I’m pleased to say I have really enjoyed being part of a well-trained team and being able to serve the community.”
His father-in-law, Malcolm Weir OAM, features prominently on the Brigade’s honour roll, having been Captain for 25 years.
“That’s a record that is not likely to be broken,” says Adam.
“There is now a lot of administration and processes to follow, on top of being ready to fight fires.
“I think it is healthy for a volunteer organisation to spread the knowledge and work around, with a three year term as the new norm.”
He’s well aware of the dangers the next fire season will bring.
“Hopefully it is nowhere near as bad as last year.
“However we still have a lot of unburnt land in the Illawarra so we will be on high alert this coming season.
“We are in a reasonable position at the moment with the rainfall we’ve had, but it is the heat and the wind that will keep us on our toes.”
Adam says that while the RFS is always interested in hearing from new volunteers, COVID has made it a challenging time to bring new recruits in.
He will be building on Andrew’s legacy by continuing to work on the competency of the brigade, and making sure it has the capacity to look after local situations as well as helping elsewhere.
Andrew, who is Kiama’s Citizen of the Year for 2020, will take on the role of Senior Deputy Captain (previously held by Adam).