Country firie doing an extra bit for the local community
WHEN the Rosewood fire brigade turned up to a bushfire in a truck decorated in tinsel, no-one batted an eye.
Everyone knew Pat Cole, effectionately known as "Fireman Pat", had been redirected from his annual Christmas Santa run through town to the emergency call-out.
It was one of three call-outs this past Christmas Eve; a bushfire, kitchen fire and a horse rescue.
"We dropped Santa off at the station, then we would go do the call-out, come back and pick him up and continue on with the lollie run - three times. We didn't get home until 10 at night," Mr Cole said. "Santa was OK, sitting in the air-conditioning."
For the past 19 years he has driven the fire truck taking Santa through the main streets, handing out 800 bags of lollies to the local children every Christmas Eve.
"We went to the three turn-outs with all the tinsel on the truck.
"I only realise it now. One girl was crying 'there goes the truck'. But we came back," he said.
That dedication and community spirit is what earnt him Rosewood Citizen of the Year at last week's Australia Day New Citizens Ceremony held by the Rosewood Lions Club.
Mr Cole was humble in receiving the award and said he was just "doing his bit for the communtity".
"It is a real honour. I was pretty shocked to receive it," he said.
The carpenter signed up for Rosewood's fire brigade 23 years ago "just to help out the community" and is now second-in-charge.
"I just wanted to help out and be there for the community.
"I was my own boss as a builder, so I could drop everything and leave for call-outs.
Mr Cole, originally from Mutdapilly, moved to Rosewood in 1975 after he met wife Cheryl at the Marburg dance.
"I'd never move from Rosewood. It's just a nice, quiet country town."