Tribute paid to firies
NOT a day goes by that Bundaberg firefighter Paul Austen's family doesn't remember him and yesterday was particularly important as it was Firefighters Remembrance Day.
The father-of-six lost his life in a traffic crash in 2004.
His stepdaughter Danni Woodforth paid tribute to him and the 50 other firemen who lost their lives as she stood in front of the crowded room to sing the national anthem.
It was the first time the significant event to remember was held in Bundaberg and QFES from the north coast in attendance.
Danni has fond memories of her stepdad and recalled the good times.
"We use to sing Abba together and, of course, he was tone deaf,” she laughed.
The 25-year-old recalled the day her stepdad lost his life and said it was like any other evening.
"He was on call, mum and him were getting dinner ready,” she said.
"He got the call and left to go to the station.
"There were two fatalities that night, and one of them was him.”
Paul's wife Caress Low-Austen said she remembered Paul everyday.
"Seeing the guys gets me every time,” she said.
"The night of the accident comes back.
"He didn't get to see the kids grow up but I know he won't go away any time soon.”
As the same bell which was used in the days before the electronics tolled, the names of 51 Queensland firefighters who lost their lives since 1877 were read.
QFES inspector Ron Higgins addressed the room of 90 people and said it was important to remember the fallen, the current and also the firefighters yet to come.
Deputy commissioner Mark Roach said the contribution made by the paid and volunteer firefighters was crucial to the community.
"All of these men and women risk their own safety to protect the community,” he said.
"It takes strength and selflessness, no hesitation as they put themselves in situations to protect us.”
Along with Paul Austen, two other firefighters, D C (Mick) Calder from Childers Rural Fire Brigade in 1960 and chief officer Bernie Nebe from Gayndah Fire Brigade, from the region, lost their lives on duty.