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Faces of CFA: Kathleen Brown
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.
Kathleen Brown, Trentham Fire Brigade
What is your brigade role?
I’ve been the communications officer since July 1990 and I’ve now been voted in for another term.
Why did you join CFA?
I joined the Ladies Auxiliary in 1983 because of the Ash Wednesday fires and then I joined the general brigade in 1990. My husband was a firefighter with the brigade and then he became captain. We worked as a team and I had to work under his guidance for 11+ years.
What incident has had the greatest impact on you and why?
The Spring Hill fires on 22 March 1998.
Being the communications officer, I was at the radio when a call came through to say, “We’re gone” from my son Tim who was on the Trentham tanker with his father and three other brothers.
It seemed like hours before another call came through to say, “Truck and crew are safe”.
When I had the remote at my house in the Kyneton group, I used to run the fires from my house if they couldn’t man their station. I used to go to Kyneton and help them run the fires at their station too.
While trying to raise nine of my sons, I could still manage to run incidents from the remote at my house. I used CFA as my freedom from home.
[NOTE: Kathleen is the mother of 10 sons, two of whom have died. She has 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.]
What other incidents stand out?
I went to a car accident on Firths Road and picked up a man’s finger which was sown back on.
I was in the auxiliary and two of us took food down to the men. We returned with burn holes in our dresses from the Ash Wednesday fires at East Trentham.
I went to a car accident with a car on fire during a hailstorm on the Kyneton road.
What do you do for a living outside CFA?
I raise my three teenage grandsons.
What are your hobbies?
CFA and gardening.
What is your favourite thing about CFA?
It’s like one big family. No matter where you go, everyone treats everyone the same.
What would you say to someone thinking of joining CFA?
Go for it! Come along to the next meeting; you won't be disappointed.
Thanks to Kathleen’s grandson Ethan Brown, also a member of Trentham Fire Brigade, for completing this Faces of CFA.
Do you know a CFA member other members would love to read about? Complete this question-and-answer form with them, adding plenty of detail about their time in CFA and the role they play in their community. Please then submit it with a photo so we can feature them as our member of the week.