A HUSBAND and wife duo, from Bowen, have received a very special gong acknowledging a two-decade long volunteering legacy.
Across the state, 88 Queenslanders have been celebrated for exceptional heroism and commitment to the service of their communities, through floods, fires, daring rescues, and land searches.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Australia Day Achievement Awards recognise QFES staff and volunteers from the State Emergency Service (SES), Rural Fire Service (RFS), and Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) for their outstanding service in 2023.
For more than 16 years, QSuper has shone a light on the incredible recipients of the awards, such as husband-and -wife duo Arthur and Robyn Burrell.
Living in the Bowen region for the better part of their 40-plus year union, the Burrells have become a fixture in their local fire brigade, after an impromptu community meeting saw the pair signing up to volunteer.
“Arthur has lived here all his life, and we figured it was high time to get involved and help out where we could,” Robyn said.
“To this day, we might be the only couple who have been silly enough to do this together.”
For almost two decades, the pair have been involved in the Bowen Rural Fire Brigade, called out to fires and car crashes, sandbagging in flood events, and even volunteering in the PCYC ‘Breaking the Cycle’ program for disadvantaged youths.
“Our connection actually started back when Arthur worked as a panel beater and did up the brigade’s first ever fire truck,” Robyn said.
Repurposing a retired Army Blitz for the fire brigade as a passion project, Arthur hadn’t anticipated riding the truck or ‘taking up the hose’ to protect his community.
Now 74, Arthur jokes that this is a great retirement plan.
From their first call-out at an overnight blaze at Euri Creek to supporting the Bowen Rural Fire Brigade as treasurer and secretary, the Burrells’ recognition in 2024 goes to show that every helping hand makes a difference when it comes to service to the community.
The QFES Australia Day Achievement Award comes as the couple’s first official recognition over their 20-year career with the brigade.
As some of the longest-serving members of the Bowen Rural Fire Brigade, the contributions from Arthur and Robyn have built an incredible legacy for the next generation.
“We are most proud of seeing how the brigade has grown and evolved. From the development of the offices and the growth of the team, it makes us happy to know we have been a part of it,” Robyn said.