Last month Lennox Brigade were saddened by the loss of our President Monty Gibbs. This is part of the speech delivered at his funeral on behalf of the Brigade.
‘Sometimes you cross paths with people who you just click with. It may be someone who is in your life for a long time, a short time, or just a moment, but when you go your separate ways you are left with a little bit of them.
‘Monty was that person for me, we clicked, he came to the Brigade and straight away I knew we would be friends, we had the same passion for the brigade and community and the same sense of humour.
‘Monty joined our Brigade when we were low on members. As quickly as he joined we put him to work as President, Secretary, Permit Officer, Community Engagement Officer, and any other roles we could throw his way. He undertook all these roles with huge dedication. Monty and I would often talk on the phone, planning Brigade future directions, talking about permits and discussing welfare of our members and how we would deal with the all the emails.
‘He was our President and I am the Vice President but each year we would joke about who would take the top job. We would joke about how his pay would be so much better (of course being volunteers we all get paid the same, a zero dollar pay) but it was always a little joke we would have, how much we would get and what we could buy or do.
‘Monty was a family man and as I have had my own family and become busy with little kids he would often remind me what was important. He would always say ‘You have got to look after you and your family first’. He loved his family and he often spoke about his children and grandchildren with such joy and happiness. He was incredibly proud of them all and what they achieved.
‘Monty was a very much loved member of our Brigade and he was well known throughout the district for his cheerful and polite manner. His top priority was looking after everyone else, and many looked up to him. There were many times when we would return from an incident and we would be greeted with a big smile and pat on the back and he (and Libby) would be there cooking a BBQ, making sure we all had some food, water and could have a rest, these were the simple things he would do that meant a lot to us.
‘Monty loved his community and he also loved a fundraiser, there was no way Monty would let you leave a conversation without promising something to help the Brigade. He took note of things that we needed and pushed to buy them. Monty had a real way with words, he was well spoken and within a conversation his passion would become your passion.
‘Monty was always on the hunt to get new members, he started writing for The Lennox Wave, which increased our community awareness and helped to recruit new members. ‘It’s your community,’ he would say while trying to sign you up there on the spot. Well look at us Monty, we have 26 plus amazing members (and a lot of young ones too!!)
‘Always present at any events we were doing, Monty especially loved to help with preschool visits, you could see he just loved the kids and there was a twinkle in his eye when they visited.
‘To Libby, Sasha, Adam and the family, you should be so proud of Monty, he has brought about so many good changes for our Brigade. He has left a huge hole and we will all miss him dearly, but we are so thankful we got share some wonderful memories with him.
‘Monty, our friend, you have left big shoes to fill and I will be waiting for the cheque in the mail. ‘