Tribute to a top fire officer
SERVING the community as a firefighter and putting family first were two of the cornerstones of the life of John Hamilton.
John died at the weekend after a six-month illness and will be farewelled at a service at St John’s in West Warwick today at 11am.
He became a firefighter 37 years ago at Gladstone and moved to South Coast in 1985.
John, his wife Kay and family moved to Warwick 22 years ago when he was appointed deputy chief of the Warwick Fire Brigade.
After the board structure was abolished, he became a superintendent, filled in as acting area director in Warwick, Toowoomba and Dalby and was a long-serving station officer in Warwick.
Former workmate Glyn Rees is speaking on behalf of current and former workmates today and said anyone who worked a shift with John Hamilton would have enjoyed it.
“He had fun but called a spade a spade. He knew his responsibility to the men (at the fire station) and the community and expected everyone in his charge to accept the same responsibilities,” Mr Rees said.
“John didn’t mind the lighter side of things but accepted the role and responsibility of the job (firefighter) was to carry it out at a moment’s notice.
“He always had time for a joke and laugh.”
Mr Rees said he had never met anyone more dedicated to his family.
“John idolised and worshipped his family,” Mr Rees said. “They came first, everything else second.”
There was also time for some sport, particularly rugby league.
All his family are fanatical Parramatta Eels supporters and he often sent emails to then coach Brian Smith about how the Eels could improve in the NRL.
While a coach regarded as one of the super coaches didn’t respond, Brian did concede to a Queensland league official that he did receive regular emails from a Queensland fan.
A tough second rower, John was an exceptional rugby league player in Gladstone and Rockhampton where he played representative footy. He refereed in the Brisbane competition when he was stationed at the South Coast.
In Warwick junior rugby league, he was involved as a coach at Collegians, registrar for Warwick and district, and refereed many games.
He is survived by his wife Kay, sons Luke and Ben, daughter-in-law Suzanne and grandchildren Jacob and Melanie.