After more than 50 years of service to the Elmhurst Fire Brigade, including thirty six years as a Pyrenees Group Officer or Deputy Group Officer, Douglas Boatman's service has been officially recognised with the awarding of the prestigious National Medal for Service.
The Glenlofty farmer and his wife Pauline were guests of honour at a Pyrenees Fire Brigades Group recognition dinner at the Moonambel Hotel, attended by more than 80 Country Fire Authority officials, fire colleagues and family members.
Representing the Country Fire Authority was Deputy Chief Officer, John Haynes, CFA Grampians District Manager, Don Kelly and District Operations Officer, Ian Morley.
Speakers at the evening also included Pyrenees Group Officer Tom Wakefield, of Amphitheatre, Deputy Group Officer, Lyle Driscoll, of Barkly and former Group Officer, Geoff Wilkinson, of Crowlands.
In presenting Doug Boatman's Pyrenees Group history, Geoff Wilkinson spoke of the extensive and diligent service rendered so unselfishly by such a respected firefighter.
The CFA National Medal recognises prolonged exposure to hazard in the service of the community. It is available to operational members in approved organisations that protect life and property at some risk to their members.
This includes government agencies such as ambulance, correctional, emergency, fire and police forces, and voluntary organisations such as lifesaving and search and rescue groups. The National Medal is Australia's most awarded civilian medal.
Doug Boatman's National Medal was elevated to the status of including three additional bronze bars to indicate his years of service.
Pyrenees Group Officer, Tom Wakefield presented Pauline Boatman with a certificate of appreciation recognising her 35 years of service that has been seen as an integral part of the Pyrenees Group's support to brigades in times of fire emergencies.
In responding to the presentation Pauline Boatman said that she had enjoyed her time of commitment.
For many years a fire radio was located in the family kitchen or in the communications' hut that was located an easy stone's throw from their home's back door.
District 16 operations officer, Ian Morley, of Ararat, spoke highly of Doug Boatnman's ability to inspire and motivate fellow firefighters, especially at an operational level.
He said when Doug Boatman is on the fireground you feel confident that everyone will be safe and the task completed in a professional manner.
Mr Morley declared Doug Boatman as one of the very best operational firefighters that he has ever worked with.
"Doug's fire fighting ability is unquestioned as is his ability to manage and work with people at all levels, including both his superiors and subordinates," Mr Morley said.
Deputy Chief Officer John Haynes chose the opportunity to reflect on some of his associations with both Doug and Pauline, congratulating them on the service and commitment to the CFA and Pyrenees Group.
It was Mr Haynes who presented Doug Boatman with the National Medal.
In accepting the medal, Doug Boatman reflected of a number of the more significant fires and events that had captivated his focus over the years.
He recalled the devastating Avoca fires in 1985 and of the many lessons that were learnt.
Mr Boatman spoke of the support he has received, not only from Pauline and his family, but of the many colleagues that have assisted him and offered a mentoring role.
During the evening Doug and Pauline's son, Brett Boatman, an Operations Officer with the CFA, was presented with the National Emergency Medal.
This award was struck after the devastating 2009 fires and is awarded to those individuals who rendered service at that difficult time.