YESTERDAY marked the end of an era as Adrian Wedrat turned in his trusty helmet, uniform and boots to retire from the Helidon Auxiliary Fire Brigade after 43 years of service.
While yesterday was a time to celebrate as Mr Wedrat turned 65, it was also a time of reflection as the Captain of the Helidon Fire Station donned the uniform for the last time.
From the moment Mr Wedrat broke through the front door of a house at 16 years of age to put out a small fire with a garden hose he knew fighting fires was what he wanted to do.
“It's just a thing that's always been with me,” Mr Wedrat said.
“When I was about 16-years-old there was a house that caught fire in town here and there was a neighbour and myself who saw it and we attacked it with just an ordinary garden house until the Gatton Fire Brigade arrived to put it out.”
Mr Wedrat said the moment inspired him to become a voluntary firefighter and joined the Helidon Fire Station a few years later in 1968 at 22 of age.
Starting as a regular firefighter, Mr Wedrat helped extinguish major fires throughout his 43 years of service and retired as Captain of the Helidon Fire Station.
“We attended all the big fires in Gatton including the Mullers fire and school fire, we've also had some really big bush fires we've gone to.
“We were actually called up to Toowoomba when they had those big bush fires on the Range, we were stationed up on Prince Henry Drive.”
Mr Wedrat said one of the highlights of his career was being able to lend a helping hand during the January flood disaster and found that helping people and the community in times of need a rewarding part of the job.
“I actually flew with the Queensland Emergency Services helicopter as a guide on the Tuesday of the floods and helped with the last rescue mission out of Helidon.
“It's a challenge but that's what we are here for, to help the community.
“It's very sad to leave because the thing is, when your living in the community and anything happens you are always here, you are always on hand to help.”
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