The Millicent Civic and Arts Centre was filled to capacity as family, friends, colleagues and community gathered to honour a man described as a true gentleman, loving husband, devoted father, besotted grandfather and loyal community man, on Wednesday 16th December.
Brian Charles Johnston was born on 11th April 1949 to parents Bill and Joan Johnston and passed away on duty on the 9th December 2014 serving his community as a CFS volunteer and Deputy Group Officer.
Brian married to wife Kathy, had two much loved sons Daniel and Jeremy. He was a devoted father-in-law to Kelly and Clare and adored Pa of Frazer, Liam, Mae, Georgia and Heath.
Amazing Grace welcomed the over 700 strong crowd. Reverend John Deere officiated, telling a few tales of Brian as a young boy who thought weeks spoiled weekends, and was happy to leave school and work on the farm with his father.
A man who believed in fair discipline in bringing up their sons but could see red on occasion. One such occasion occurred when a tussle between his two boys resulted in a loose tooth. Daniel, the owner of the loose tooth showed his father, only because a fast train out of Millicent wasn’t an option, and dobbed in his little brother.
Brian picked up Jeremy by the shirt front until the three year old’s legs were dangling several foot off the ground and he was eye to eye with a very annoyed Brian who said, “What have I told you about kicking?” Jeremy answered, “I didn’t kick him, I punched him with my foot.” Brian’s shoulders relaxed, they said, as he walked away saying, he thought he had to pay that one.
Wattle Range CFS group officer Mike Kemp and Country Fire Service regional commander John Probert spoke at length about their respect for their friend, a man whose life had touched so many and a colleague respected by all who knew him.
A grandfather who loved picking up his adored grandchildren from school and who enjoyed telling friends about them.
Poems ‘A measure of a Man,’ and ‘The Dash’ were read and the Burra CFS sent the ‘Fireman’s Prayer’ as a message of condolence.
When I am called to duty, God
whenever flames may rage,
give me the strength to save some life
Whatever be its age.
Help me to embrace a little child
before it’s too late,
or some older person
from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
and hear the weakest shout,
and quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling
and give the best in me,
to guard my neighbor
and protect his property.
and if according to my fate
I am to lose my life,
Please bless with your protecting hand
my children and my wife.
– Author Unknown.
Mr Johnson’s coffin, covered in the CFS flag, a wreath and his CFS akubra hat, was carried to the waiting hearse to make it’s final journey through the waiting guard of honour of CFS, SES, Police and other emergency services, to the Mt Gambier Crematorium.
Yellow balloons filled the air as uniformed personnel, many in tears were called to attention; the stamp of their boots filled the air, followed by three cheers to honour the man they called their friend and colleague as he took his final journey through George Street. followed by Millicent CFS trucks and personnel.
Mr Johnston had served the CFS for 49 years; his son Daniel is in the CFS and his son Jeremy served in the CFS before joining the Police Force.
Flags flew at half-mast across Wattle Range to honour this much loved and respected community member.
On Friday night, front porch lights were switched on through out Millicent and Wattle Range, in a campaign launched by Australian Fallen Fire Fighters called, ‘we’ll leave the light on for you,’ in honour of Brian Johnston.
‘Close to our hearts you’ll always stay, loved and remembered everyday
A true gentleman‘
(Quote from the order of service)
by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow