Gary Deering - North West
In his early twenties, Gary left Perth and hit the road north spending his early working life in Darwin, Karratha, and a few places in-between. He finally settled in Exmouth in 1986 where many of his relatives were based. Gary met his wife, Trish, in Exmouth in 1987 and they were married a year later.
Gary’s cousin talked him into joining the firefighting competition running team, which until recently he was still competing in al along with some of the other ‘senior’ volunteer firefighters.
Throughout the years, Gary has fulfilled the role of station keeper, apparatus officer, foreman and captain of the Exmouth Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service.
The only role he has not filled is as secretary. “In a show of family unity Trish took on that role for 12 years,” says Gary.
With the help of his fellow brigade members, Gary resurrected the Exmouth junior firefighting competition team a couple of years before his son, Mark, was old enough to join, and continued until after his son left to move to Perth for further education.
In 1999 Gary was awarded the state’s highest accolade being Western Australia’s volunteer firefighter of the year for his efforts as captain during fires that burnt up to the edge of town in January 1999, then the recovery of the town after cyclone Vance. Gary was also the third person to receive life membership at Exmouth VFRS.
“I am passionate about volunteer firefighting. I will always advocate for the firefighters, and I do not mind calling a spade a shovel,” says Gary.
There is no doubt Gary’s years as a volunteer firefighter has had an impact on his son.
“Mark was accepted into the Forrestfield training academy on his first attempt and graduated dux,” says Gary proudly. “He still rings every few months with either ‘Dad, I was talking to this bloke and he says he knows you, and to say Hello’ or ‘Dad, what do you think about…?’”