The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) sincerely thanks the hundreds of volunteers who took time off work and away from their families to attend the 2018 AFAC Conference in Perth last week.
The Committee of the AVBFB (and all other associations) worked very hard with DFES staff for months to ensure volunteers were not overlooked as a result of its resources being stretched by it having to host what is genuinely a huge event. And we are pleased to report our effort, combined with that of the SES Association, VMRS Association, VFRS Association and VFES Association helped DFES deliver a world-class event that did a very reasonable job of recognising our amazing local volunteer workforce in very challenging circumstances.
While it wasn’t ideal from our perspective, the AVBFB acknowledges that DFES simply didn’t have the time or money to run a separate Volunteer Conference this year and through the combined effort mentioned above, probably couldn’t have done any better.
As usual, the amazing volunteer Committee of the AVBFB from all over WA gave up their incomes and family time for the week and rolled up their sleeves to get the job done. As well as staffing our extremely busy and popular booth during the “business hours” of the exhibition, our team listened and learned from the myriad of experts who were presenting and did their best to meet volunteers and other potentially valuable government and commercial exhibitors.
While it was definitely a team effort, very special mention needs to go to our “energiser bunny” Secretary/Treasurer Lorraine Webster and her team of dedicated souls who made sure the AVBFB stand was always well presented and able to manage the huge number of questions and introductions that occurred over the week. They include Ed, Michael, Belinda (Billy), Terry, John and Terri – with the most sincere apologies to anyone the desk-bound author might have missed by not being present himself!
It is really quite incredible that so many of the 3,000 or so people who are paid to travel to these kind of conferences “selling” their wares were able to share the hospitality, insights and expert local knowledge that the teams from the various volunteer services like ours were able to provide – at their often significant, personal cost.
Thanks ladies and gentlemen, you have, as always, done the Service and community of Western Australia very proud!