Kadina High Year 10 student Jason Balderi, of Goonellabah, a graduate of the Rural Fire Service Schools Cadet Program, with his father Robert who, thanks to his son, is also inspired to join the service.
Kadina High Year 10 student Jason Balderi, of Goonellabah, a graduate of the Rural Fire Service Schools Cadet Program, with his father Robert who, thanks to his son, is also inspired to join the service. Jacklyn Wagner

Jason completes RFS program

GIVING something back to the community was one of the reasons 16-year-old Kadina High student Jason Balderi enlisted in the Rural Fire Service’s Secondary Schools Cadet Program.

Jason was among 26 students and one teacher who recently completed the program.

They were presented with their graduation certificates yesterday in a ceremony held at the Goonellabah school with senior Rural Fire Service representatives in attendance.

The 10-week program taught cadets skills in basic firefighting, appreciation of the community and volunteer spirit, and an appreciation of the role of the emergency services.

The course started in late April with the students attending sessions every Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon.

Jason’s enthusiasm for the course has even inspired his father, Robert, to attend the next RFS open day being held at Tullera Hall on September 26.

“I just want to do something for the community so I thought I’d go and check it out,” Mr Balderi said.

“I might try and join the Alphadale RFS.”

Jason said the course was fun to do and was able to pick up his new skills easily.

“I liked going to the Wyrallah Road fire station,” he said.

“One activity we had to do was pump water from the truck into barrels and then back into the truck again.”

RFS region north manager Brett Condie helped present certificates to the young graduates, who were dressed in the yellow uniforms of the RFS.

“Knowing that these students could possibly be future firefighters helps make this course absolutely critical,” he said.

“They learn bushfire awareness and safety, which are important skills for life.”

In his speech to the graduates, Mr Condie thanked them for acc-epting the challenge.

“I am taken aback to stand here with pride looking at the graduates,” he said.

“You will also look back with great pride and a sense of achievement on this day.”

When asked if he thought his dad was fit enough to become an RFS volunteer, Jason smiled. “Yeah, he should do good. Not great, but good.”



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