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Helen Kenney – OAM
Helen Kenney wears many hats in the St Andrews community, but it's her work with emergency services that earned her an Australia Day honour.
Today Helen receives a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the communities of Nillumbik and St Andrews. Her involvement with CFA started long before her official date in 1999, while she was pregnant with her youngest child.
Her father was a volunteer with Kangaroo Ground Fire Brigade for many years when her hunger for volunteering kicked in.
“I’m not sure what it is that I enjoy about it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my father was involved in CFA volunteering and working with communities and that’s something he instilled in us.”
That tradition has continued, with six of her eight children having been through CFA as Junior or Senior members.
Raising eight children has certainly equipped Helen with outstanding organisational and coordination skills, which she drew upon as she moved through CFA.
She held many elected positions at St Andrews, including lieutenant and communications officer, which prepared her for her ultimate test as captain. Her four-year stint as captain encompassed Black Saturday.
Now she's the Manager of Community Safety for the Nillumbik Group, and acts as a liaison between the group and the district, as well as other agencies including Victoria Police and local government.
Her volunteering extends to other aspects of community work including the St Andrews Community Bushfire Recovery Association. She also takes a keen interest in local history groups and is a founding member of the St Andrews/Queenstown Historical Society.
She has about a year’s more research to do before she publishes a book that tells the stories of Anzacs in the region.