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CFA family in every sense
To celebrate National Volunteer Week (13-19 May), CFA is saying “thanks a million” to its volunteers, families and employers for everything they do. This week we will feature a series of profile stories to highlight the great work and diversity of our volunteer members.
The O’Connor name is well known in the Wonthaggi community – not just in a business sense but for the hours the family dedicates to volunteering with CFA.
Phillip O’Connor is a former captain and life member of CFA who has volunteered with Wonthaggi Fire Brigade for 33 years. His wife Mary also served more than 20 years at CFA as the Group Communications Officer.
Phillip and Mary are the business owners of South Coast Décor Centre, which is a home decorating centre, consisting of Carpet Call, Dollar Curtains and National Tiles. During the early stages of the business, their shop was situated right next door to the Wonthaggi Fire Station.
Phillip said when the pager went off, he used to lock the front door to the shop and run next door to the fire station.
“We’d often close up shop for fire calls but we didn’t mind because we were doing a community ser
While Phillip remains modest about the amount of money they’d lost over the years, there’s no keeping quiet about how proud he is of his two sons, Kim and Damien, have continued on with the family tradition – not just at CFA - but helping to run the family business as managers.
Kim O’Connor is the current Wonthaggi CFA captain and has volunteered with CFA for 23 years. His brother
“We’re a highly regarded organisation in the community and we enjoy helping the community,” Kim said.
“It’s not just about attending fire calls, we’re also involved in any and every community activity there is.
“We also find the community lean on us for support and it feels great to be in that position.”
Wonthaggi Fire Brigade attends around 150 call-outs per year – around 140 of those, Kim and Damien will attend. Between them, during their time at CFA, they’ve attended more than 7000 call-outs.
The O’Connor’s family business also doubles as a warehouse for the
“I don’t mind doing it because everything I contribute helps the town in some way,” Phillip said.
A family and business well-deserving of being recognised and thanked during this year’s National Volunteer Week.
- Story by Amy Schildberger