Spring Gully firie humbled by top award

Norm Bowen. Picture: LIZ FLEMING

Norm Bowen. Picture: LIZ FLEMING

VOLUNTEER firefighter Norm Bowen said he was humbled to receive an Order of Australia medal. 

The Spring Gully resident was recognised for his service to the community through being part of the Country Fire Authority. 

He said he did not know who nominated him but it was an honour. 

"I was a bit surprised at getting the award," he said. 

"My children were more excited than me.

"It is an honour but even though it has my name on it, it belongs to a lot more people.

"In my role you have to work as a team.

"It is definitely a team effort."

Mr Bowen first started with the CFA in Swan Hill when he was 15 years old because "it was the thing to do" and spent several years working in New South Wales.

He then moved to Goornong before taking up a position at Woodvale. 

While he moved around Mr Bowen managed a CFA training ground in Huntly, was president and lieutenant of the Woodvale Brigade for seven years and a delegate to the Bendigo District Rural Fire Brigades Group in 1976. 

He was also associated with the Victorian Rural Fire Brigades Association. 

He also established critical incident stress teams to help deal with firefighters suffering from stress and anxiety caused by attending fires. 

Nowadays, he works at the Bendigo Headquarters Brigade co-ordinating the welfare department and said he had made some life-long friendships. 

"I have made lots of friends who, most of them, I will keep for life," he said. 

"I could pretty much go anywhere in Victoria and see someone I know.

"It's a great organisation and I am really pleased to be part of it."

Mr Bowen said the CFA was a terrific organisation and allowed him to expand his horizons.

He said he missed "riding on the back of the trucks" but said his role these days was still important. 

"It has given me opportunities that I never expected," he said. 

"It has really opened my horizons and that is something I am really grateful for."

Mr Bowen was recognised for 50 years of service to the CFA last year. 

He said it was a great achievement and he was not ready to give up yet.

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