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Helidon station to celebrate half a century fighting fires

EXTENSIVE HISTORY: Helidon Fire Station staff members of past and present (from left) Corey Mullins, John Thomas, Greg Mullins, Adrian Wedrat and Dan Gierke will celebrate 50 years of operation on November 11.
EXTENSIVE HISTORY: Helidon Fire Station staff members of past and present (from left) Corey Mullins, John Thomas, Greg Mullins, Adrian Wedrat and Dan Gierke will celebrate 50 years of operation on November 11. Lachlan McIvor

ADRIAN Wedrat has been a mainstay at the Helidon Fire Station for the vast majority of its 50 year history.

He joined in November of 1968, a year after it was established and, during the course of his more than four decades of service to the station, saw his fair share of tragedy and destruction but also built a lifetime of memories and friendships along the way.

"I was sort-of the nipper with the original six firemen here. I used to come down here because I just loved it,” Mr Wedrat said.

"It just escalated from there and then, eventually, when one of the other fellas retired, one of the original firemen, I took his place.”

He was on scene during the 1974 floods, the more recent floods that decimated Grantham, countless fires and attended many "horrific” accidents that occurred on the original Gatton bypass.

On November 11, the station will celebrate its 50th anniversary and is inviting past and present firefighters, their families and the entire community to attend.

Mr Wedrat was forced to step down as captain of the station in 2011, once he turned 65, and the reins were handed to current captain Greg Mullins.

On call 24 hours a day, Mr Mullins and his crew of eight look forward to a more relaxed evening of mixing with firefighters of the past.

"We're trying to get them all together and, hopefully, our commissioner can attend and just have a night of talking through things and catching up with past members,” Mr Mullins said.

While the night would serve as a way to recognise those who have served during the station's history, Mr Wedrat said it was also important to support those currently putting their lives on the line to protect the community.

"The other day I was just sitting at home and thinking that, since the Helidon Fire Station was opened in 1968, the housing development in Helidon has probably more than trebled,” he said.

"We have to have someone as first responders to respond to these fires and accidents... to have fellas that will put their hand up to do it.”

He was disappointed to have to give up his role before he was ready to go but he is still a familiar face around the station.

"I still have a very good relationship with the crew here in Helidon, we still like to joke and carry on,” Mr Wedrat said.

"This is all part of the comradeship of being in a fire brigade and handling the stress and all of that.”

The event will be held at the Helidon Community Hall with a fully catered dinner but RSVPs need to be made by October 30.

For any inquiries, phone Greg Mullins on 0408 157 318.

Topics:  greg mullins helidon fire station rural fire and rescue service


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