Teary widow accepts medal on behalf of unsung Yeppoon hero
A TEARFUL Lorraine Veach stood on stage on Thursday accepting an award on behalf of her late husband, Doug.
Doug Veach was awarded a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Diligent and Ethical Service Medal clasp for his work with Bondoola and Hidden Valley Rural Fire Brigade.
"It was very emotional, he only died eight weeks ago,” Ms Veach said.
"We are very proud of the work he has done.”
Doug unfortunately passed away in December, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer in October.
The fire service did try to present him with the award when they found out about his diagnosis however he passed away suddenly before they could.
Mr Veach had been involved with the Yeppoon area fire brigades for over 20 years.
"He didn't go out to many fires in the last few years but he still helped,” Ms Veach said.
The couple would have celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary last week.
Ms Veach can recall many times sitting at home waiting for husband to come home from a fire.
"He went to a lot of fires and some quite horrific ones,” she said.
"You would be concerned mainly for him to come home.”
One fire that stands out in memory was near Mount Chalmers, south-west of Cawarral.
"When he was at the New Zealand gully in 2009,” Ms Veach said.
"Those were horrendous fires, the flames were really high.”
The fire was relentless and didn't go down without a fight.
"They went on for a week, it was such a long week and they were doing long shifts with 12 hours days,” Ms Veach said.
And when he came out the other side uninjured, there wasn't any better feeling.
"Just relief and thanks that he came home safely,” Ms Veach said.
Ms Veach spoke fondly of her husband's love of being involved in the brigade.
"Just doing something for the community, he really loved it,” she said.
"He loved camaraderie, the planning, the organising.
"He liked teaching and training the younger ones.”
Over the years, he was given medals for his service including an Australian National Medal, Flood Relief Medal and a QFES Medal.
Ms Veach said she was proud to receive the medal on behalf of him.
"It's a lovely legacy to be able to pass on in the family, this one will go down to the grand-daughters,” she said.