16 February, 2024

One door closes while another opens for Ray

Recently retired Woodford Fire Station Auxiliary Captain, Ray Williams, is ready for the next chapter of his life, after more than 30 years of serving the local community.

One door closes while another opens for Ray - feature photo

Ray had a farewell event at the Woodford Fire Station on the evening of Thursday December 7, as members of the Woodford, Kilcoy, Dayboro and Deception Bay fi re stations attended.

This came after Ray’s roles over the years included Woodford Auxiliary Captain, Woodford SES volunteer, Wamuran Rural Fire Fighter, and PCYC Emergency Services Coordinator Adult Leader.

After joining the SES in 1990, Ray joined the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) in March 1992 and remained with the QFES until December 7, 2023.

Ray said he is ready to move on, as he is prepared to undertake a range of training roles.

He said he loves training people, and that he plans to train personnel around Queensland (and eventually interstate) with rescue models, including road crash rescue training, confined space rescues, first aid components, and basic firefighting.

As for what was most rewarding about his voluntary roles, Ray said “the comradeship with the different services”.

“During major events like floods and fires, the community gets involved and people support each other,” he said.

Ray also mentioned competitions, saying “firefighting games were good”.

“They kept our skills up and we met others around the state, competed against them and got to know them,” he said.

As for day-to-day activities in his voluntary work, Ray said,

“Every job you go to is challenging.

“When I joined in 1992, back then probably 50 per cent of calls were car crashes, and the other half were grass fires and the occasional house fire.

“Now about 80 per cent of calls are car crashes.

“I’ve witnessed so many car crashes over the years, it’s unbelievable.”

Ray said peer support was always vital, as well as available, while it was a case of feeling right “in the mind”.

“It’s a duty of care for us to make sure ourselves and our crews are fit for duty,” he said.

He said he is walking away “from a proud station” and the new captain is sure to maintain the high standards which were set and met during Ray’s time there.

Ray played a vital role in launching the Woodford PCYC Cadets in early 2021, and he was a coordinator/adult leader of the cadets until November 2023.

He received a Commissioner’s Certificate of Appreciation for his years of service to the QFES, having also won other awards in the past 30 years.

These included an Australia Day award for assistance and input with state and national firefighting games.

In 2021, he was named QFES Emergency Services Officer of the Year.

On top of his voluntary roles and part-time paid position as an auxiliary fire officer, Ray worked at a sawmill for 11 years and at a plant nursery for two years.

He also worked as a chef at former Woodford restaurant Tilney’s, and had a stint at the Elimbah-based Gravel City.

Ray also worked for the Moreton Bay Regional Council (now City of Moreton Bay) for 12 years.


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