For the past 25 years, Eltham Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer Linda Graham has dedicated her time to helping the community.

Her service is being acknowledged with a presentation at the Eltham Town Hall on August 8, where she will receive her 25 year gold star medal.

"Receiving the medal is an honour. I enjoy helping people and serving the community."

Linda first started at the Manaia brigade in 1990 when she was 19.

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Linda holding the hose (left) at her first call-out in 1990. Photo / Supplied.
Linda holding the hose (left) at her first call-out in 1990. Photo / Supplied.

"I always had an interest in becoming a member."

Her first callout, a scrub fire behind a house, happened two months after she had joined.

She served at the brigade for five years, before moving away and taking a five year break.

"I joined the Opunake brigade in 2000 where I served for seven years. I then joined the Eltham brigade."

As a member of the Eltham brigade, Linda has attended a number of callouts, ranging from fires to vehicle accidents.

"I do believe I've seen nearly everything in Eltham. One callout was an ACM van that had crashed and rolled over in a paddock. We created a human chain to transfer the bags of money to another ACM van."

Linda says she wants to get rid of the stigma of seeking help for mental health.

"There is a range we deal with which can have an effect on us. Looking after our mental health is important and it's crucial to understand help is available if we need it. The hardest thing to do is ask for help, but once you ask it's a big relief."

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She says she enjoys the comradeship in the brigade.

"I'm quite lucky to work alongside great people. The brigade is like a family and you build up relationships with people that become your friends for life."

Linda has also completed the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge. She was the second fastest woman in 2005 and completed the challenge again in 2013.

"It's a great cause and an awesome experience."

She has also won the woman's section of the Toughtest Firefighter competition in 2004 and 2005.

Chief fire officer David Waite says Linda is the 27th person to receive a gold star medal in the brigade.

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"Having 27 gold stars and five 50 year medals in the brigade is amazing."

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