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Faces of CFA: Jenna Kelley
What binds CFA members is the common goal to protect lives and property, but you’re a diverse bunch. Every member has a story and Faces of CFA introduces you to just some of those stories.
Jenna Kelley, Panton Hill Fire Brigade
What is your brigade role?
Why did you join CFA?
I worked in Antarctica and, when I came home from Scott Base (NZ), I had all these wonderful firefighting skills and loved it so much that I wanted to use them so I joined CFA. I have never ever regretted that decision. I absolutely love it.
What do you do for a living outside of CFA?
I am an administration assistant at a medical research institute and a student paramedic. I also run the Walking Forward Disaster Relief Team (WFDRT) Inc. that provides a free, grassroots equine relocation database to use when pre-planning for emergencies. I’m a judge for dressage and I love to scuba dive.
How long have you been a member of CFA?
Almost 13 years
What incident has had the greatest impact on you and why?
Black Saturday. It was the most difficult event I have ever been involved with. It taught me so much about death and loss and the importance of planning and recovery. I still get emotional about it eight years on.
That event was the catalyst for my National Equine Database and setting up WFDRT Inc to help animal owners pre-plan.
I have been so blessed to win awards for the database and my volunteer work. The most recent highlight was winning the Premier’s Volunteer Award for Change Maker. It was my first time to Government House and it was absolutely incredible.
What are your hobbies?
Horses, writing novels, community work, studying, scuba diving and Antarctica.
What is your favourite thing about CFA?
It's my family and one I am extremely proud of. I love the mateship, the bonding you experience when you’re working on a large campaign, and helping the community when they need it most – not just during an event, but providing the support afterwards is so important so they don’t feel alone or forgotten.
What would you say to someone thinking of joining CFA?
You’ll never regret it. You’ll gain self-confidence and grow in unexpected and wonderful ways. You’ll make a difference to others. It will expand your life in such a positive way.