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Waroona’s Volunteer Fire Brigade captain Michael Simpson up for Fire and Emergency Service Award

Craig DuncanHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Waroona Fire Brigade captain Michael Simpson is a finalist for this year’s Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Individual Achievement Award.
Camera IconWaroona Fire Brigade captain Michael Simpson is a finalist for this year’s Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Individual Achievement Award. Credit: Craig Duncan

Waroona’s own volunteer fire brigade captain Michael Simpson is in the running for the Volunteer Fire and Emergency Service Individual Achievement Award.

Being named a finalist came as some surprise to Mr Simpson, despite his years of service fighting fires across the South West — even contributing in battling wildfires burning through Canada in 2021.

“I didn’t think when I started in 2007 that 17 years down the track I would be the captain and would be up for an award,” he said.

“I feel pretty humble.”

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Mr Simpson is a standout within the community for his establishment of a Waroona Bushfire Ready Group, coordinating neighbourhoods during an emergency.

He said while not everyone had the time or ability to volunteer, the group has been able to bring the community together and keep people safe.

The value of this group was on full display in March with the Nanga Brook fires ripping through 3000ha of forest North of Waroona.

“In situations like the Nanga Brook road fire, by the time we get the call, the neighbours have already seen the fire, done the ring around and put their plan into action,” he said.

“So, instead of people having to make the decision on the day, they already have it squared away.”

Mr Simpson said despite being in the running for the individual achievement award, it was a credit to his support network.

“Even though it is an Individual Achievement Award is actually pretty massive group effort,” he said.

One of the standouts of this group is firefighter Brooke Vantwist who Mr Simpson said was one of his biggest supporters while putting in an equal amount of work.

Ms Vantwist said Mr Simpson was the type of person who puts his heart and soul into everything he does, giving every bit of spare time to the community and the brigade.

“He’s been a massive advocate for culture change in volunteering in general,” she said.

“And he’s always pushing for a lot of positive change and support, checking in on people after major incidents, he’s just a kind caring man.

“We’re lucky to have him really.”

Mr Simpson said he loves being a firefighter and giving back to the community — and setting a good example for his kids.

The winners of the awards will be announced at a gala dinner in Perth on September 7.

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