News

Local firefighters remembered

By Corowa Free Press

NSW Rural Fire Service unveiled four plaques during on Remembrance Day to memorialise the lives of local firefighters who went above and beyond in their duty.

The plaques were each unveiled along with a Tree of Remembrance during an event at the NSWRFS station in Corowa to commemorate the lives of Dennis Ratcliff, Robyne Lyndon, Garry Bond and Jim Myers, who the Southern Border Team have lost over the last few years.

Paul Scott, Chief Mental Health Officer of the NSWRFS conducted the service which celebrate the mark each of them have left on the community while also giving family members the opportunity to say some moving words about the loved ones they’ve lost.

Ross Lyndon, Elissa Bond, Sandra Ratcliffe and Janet Myers echoed the sentiments of one another when speaking, stating how each of their loved ones were incredibly passionate about the RFS and how dearly they are missed.

Southern Border Team captain Geyd’n Davis said he was incredibly inspired by each of the firefighters and it was fitting that each of them be celebrated.

“It really puts into perspective why you get involved with the RFS,” he said. 

“Sometimes in life you encounter people who do nothing but give. They aren’t in it for the accolades, the medals or the fame or fortune, they do it because they love it and they love their community. 

“These are the people who should be celebrated.”

Dennis Ratcliff 

19.11.1947 – 13.02.2017

Dennis Ratcliffe is remembered as a devoted member of the Community, loving husband, father, grandfather, Dog Dad and mad pilot.

Over the years Dennis was involved in the Community through many different groups and events, such as the RSL, Legacy, and the RFS CISS Team, teaching art classes, and volunteering at the schools and ANZAC services. 

Dennis grew up in Tallimba on a sheep and wheat farm with his parents, Leslie and Olive with siblings Geoffrey, Neville, David and Jenny. Maybe this is where his love of animals came from. 

At the age of 17 he joined the Army.

At the age of 18 he met Sandra on a blind date and two years later in June 1968, they were married just three weeks before Dennis left for the Vietnam War.

Dennis and Sandra had two children, Jason born in 1970 and Renee born in 1973.

In 1977 Dennis and Sandra moved to Stanmore, Sydney to begin his career as a firefighter.   Three years later, in 1980 they moved to Wagga Wagga to the Turvey Park Fire Station.  After serving there for 14 years, in 1994, Dennis took up a position as FCO with Evans Shire (Bathurst) for just under three years.  

Dennis and Sandra moved to Corowa to take up the position of Inaugural Fire Control Officer with the Corowa and Berrigan Shires. This newly created position wasn’t without its challenges and Dennis rose to each and every one of those with his usual positive and cheerful personality.  

A mentor to many, Dennis’s passion for training and the CISS team will continue to benefit this community for many years to come. 

Garry Bond

26.12.1954 – 20.08.2018

Garry is remembered as a well-loved member of the Tocumwal Brigade and Community.  Over the years Garry has been involved with not only the Rural Fire Service, but also the horse community, giving his time for the shared passions of both himself and his wife Narelle.

Garry had a sombre patriarchal way about him.  When he talked, people listened and he had a lot of fabulous stories of his travels with his family and towards the end, he had a positive attitude towards this illness that is something to be credited for, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from Garry.

Garry was also a proud supporter of the Bernie Banton Foundation that promotes asbestos awareness, research, and more importantly, provides support for families affected by Mesothelioma.

Garry held various positions within the brigade since his joining in 1996, including Deputy Captain, three separate terms as Senior Deputy Captain, Captain (03-07), Brigade President (04-08), Brigade Vice President (08-16), Captain (14-16), Equipment Officer (2016) and finally as Senior Deputy Captain again.

He loved to get out and go camping, he loved to get on his motorbike and explore with Narelle as his pillion, but most of all he loved his wife Narelle, his children and grandchildren.

For over 30 years he worked for the Department of Primary Industries conducting plant trials including wheat production etc.

Garry “007” Bond was a very well-respected member of the Tocumwal RFB and district and he always spoke very highly of his brigade members and his time with the RFS, he will be missed.

Robyne Lyndon

10.09.1960 – 27.06.2017

A wise selfless woman was Robyne.

Well known for her wise and thoughtful guidance, which made her the perfect candidate to be in the RFS Critical Incident Team.

A member of Corowa Headquarters since 1996, she was one of the many people who contributed to the building of this Fire Control Centre and Corowa Station behind you, contributing hours of time, blood, sweat and tears. 

Robyne has been one of our steadfast, dedicated and professional radio Communications Officers, and always available for a shift and it was something she was exceptionally brilliant at with her calm demeanour and years of experience. 

Taken far too young and far too suddenly, it is hard to be without her and I am sure those that knew Robyne would all agree about that. She had an infectious laugh, a quirky sense of humour, and gave biggest hugs and unconditional love to those who appreciated them.

She is truly madly deeply loved and missed by her husband Ross and children Alex and Kirsten, family as well as her RFS family who span across the State.

We hope she is looking down on us with a book and a cup of tea with her feet up.

A member of the service since 2005, Jim was a stalwart member of the Corowa Headquarters Brigade, always at the station, always ready to help, always ready to get on the truck. 

Jim’s past as a truck driver was an immense help to the district as a whole, always willing to move fire trucks from here to there for maintenance and rego checks. 

Jim Myers

09.11.1939  – 13.02.2018

A member of the service since 2005, Jim was a stalwart member of the Corowa Headquarters Brigade, always at the station, always ready to help, always ready to get on the truck. 

Jim’s past as a truck driver was an immense help to the district as a whole, always willing to move fire trucks from here to there for maintenance and rego checks. 

He was an excellent driver on the fireground, crews trusted him to get them there and back safely.  On the fireground Jim had an excellent reputation for being able to drive at the right speed for knocking down a running grass fire without bouncing the crews off the back!  

A patriarch of the Brigade and with a passion for training, Jim was always a friendly face in the Station, in his later years Jim served as equipment officer within the Brigade ensuring all trucks and firefighting equipment were maintained and serviced to his high standard. 

Jim was an excellent driver on the fireground, crews trusted him to get them there and back safely.  On the fireground Jim had an excellent reputation for being able to drive at the right speed for knocking down a running grass fire without bouncing the crews off the back!  

A patriarch of the Brigade and with a passion for training, Jim was always a friendly face in the Station, in his later years Jim served as equipment officer within the Brigade ensuring all trucks and firefighting equipment were maintained and serviced to his high standard.