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Employer is Matt’s knight in armour
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.
Without the support of his employer and his family, Matt Knight doesn’t think he would be able to commit the time to be in a leadership role with CFA.
A Lieutenant with Hurstbridge Fire Brigade, Matt has volunteered with CFA for around 23 years.
He has committed thousands of hours both operationally, through training and in a community education and fundraising sense – including during the February 2009 bushfires.
Matt said without the support of his employer, Appselec – electrical and communications contractors – he would not have been able to make such a contribution during the campaign fires or since then.
“Before the February 2009 fires I’d only been back at work about a week since taking leave when my wife had a baby,” Matt said.
“But because of the fires I ended up only working about five days in five weeks and I got paid for the whole time. Without work being so supportive there’s no way I could have given that time to the fires and helping out.”
But Appselec’s support for CFA went beyond this when Matt’s boss donated around $30,000 to Hurstbridge Fire Brigade and more than $6000 to Wandong CFA.
“During the fires my boss said for every donation he got off the staff he’d match it with $2. We couldn’t believe how much was raised and we were blown away when we found out he’d decide to donate it to our brigade,” Matt said.
“It was such a generous donation and really helped our brigade out, it’s means we’re well on the way to purchasing an ultra-light tanker.
“Without the support of my employer I could never be so active within my brigade. I really try not to abusive the privilege but if I’m ever late, or not able to come into work the next day because I’ve been out all night attending a job, it’s no dramas.”
Matt said special thanks must also be given to his wife Paula and two sons, Zack, 7, and Shannon, 4.
“You’ve always got to put your family first but as an officer of a brigade, sometimes you have to commit a lot of time to CFA and away from your family,” he said.
“I think it should be recognised how much our families sacrifice for us to be able to do this – without their support it would just not be possible.”