FOR more than 40 years Graham Povey has given his time to protecting the community as a volunteer with the Rural Fire Service (RFS). An integral part of the community, Mr Povey received recognition for years of dedication to the RFS, awarded a life membership of the Colinton RFS on Saturday.
The honour came as a shock to only one person, and that was Mr Povey.
"It was a big surprise, I didn't know it was coming," Mr Povey said.
"After our AGM I was sitting back in the corner when they announced my life membership, it is much appreciated."
The 61-year-old has been involved with the RFS since he was 19. His desire to help protect people came about when he was just 12, upon his first encounter with a fire.
In 2005, Mr Povey was elected Captain of the Colinton Brigade, a role he has filled with passion and dedication.
"I have a fantastic brigade, it's a pleasure to work them," Mr Povey said.
"We work well with the other brigades throughout the Monaro region."
Fire fighting runs in the Povey family. Mr Povey's grandfather and father were both members of the RFS. His grandfather operated some of the earliest fire fighting equipment in the late 19th and earliest 20th Century.
Over the years Mr Povey has tackled many bushfires threatening the region.
From one his biggest fires in 1987, to the devastating Canberra fires of 2003, which burnt through much of the surrounding area.
"The scariest one was Michelago, at times it was very frightening," Mr Povey said.
"We knew what we were doing; you need to survey the situation before diving in straight away."
Over the last five years the Colinton brigade has seen a steady increase in volunteers. Regular training sessions with brigades across the region, allow the RFS to maintain their skills, when responding to a range of different emergencies.
"Trainings take place every second Saturday, this has been happening for at least 15 years," Mr Povey.
"We train for motor vehicle accidents, mock house fires and much more."
Throughout his time with the RFS, Mr Povey has witnessed changes to many areas of fire fighting equipment.
"Communication has been the biggest improvement, the equipment now is fantastic," Mr Povey said.
Two weeks shy of turning 62, Mr Povey has no plans to leave the RFS. His contributions not only to the Colinton Brigade but the wider Cooma-Monaro community, should have the name Graham Povey on everyone's lips.