News & Media

Inspire Award nominee makes a difference

By: Leith Hillard

Category: Honours & Awards

  9.45 PM 23 April, 2017


Location: General

Views: 2124

Being a Juniors leader, cleaning the station, buying food and drinks, making lunch and snacks, fundraising, being on the Santa Run … You name a support role and Greendale member Robyn McKean has been in on it.

She joined the brigade in 2001 and was immediately welcomed by the “great bunch”, but her participation has also filled a hole left by the end of her career in one-on-one aged home care.

Robyn was born with the heredity condition Spastic Familial Paraparesis which adversely affects her mobility and is degenerative. A fall at work meant the end of the caring job she loved, but she redoubled her volunteering and Greendale brigade is the beneficiary.  

Robyn has been nominated for an Inspire Award®, an initiative of the Funds in Court (of the Supreme Court of Victoria) with the support of the Transport Accident Commission, Women with Disabilities Victoria and the Portland House Foundation.

The Victorian awards recognise a person 18 years or older who has a disability and is well respected in their field of work/interest and community.

This year CFA has been given its own award category – Best Achievement Award in the Country Fire Authority.   

Robyn was nominated by Greendale 3rd lieutenant Donna Zabinskas

“Robyn took on the role of being one of our two Junior leaders in 2007 and still performs this role,” says Donna. “She’s dedicated many hours to helping with the training of the youth of our brigade, attending to their needs and supporting their activities and being an excellent role model for them.”

Again, it’s a role Robyn loves.  “I like being with the kids and seeing how they’re growing with us,” she says. “I always hope they’ll continue with us. Shane, the other leader, is a great support and he knows how important the Juniors are to me.

“Allan my husband is my main support and encouragement and I have three daughters, two grandsons and one granddaughter.”

Robyn usually gets around with a walking frame at home and crutches everywhere else but knows she will be in a wheelchair one day. The new fire station is accessible with a big meeting room and she takes every precaution to ensure she doesn’t fall. 

“I do my exercises and go to the pool,” she says. “You have to do everything to help yourself but I know [reduced mobility] is going to happen. 

“The brigade gives me something positive to do and the Santa Run is the highlight of the year. I sit in the cab of the truck and get to see the kids in the street with their eyes all lit up when we hand out lolly bags.

“If we can do something to make a difference then that’s what it’s all about.”

The Inspire Awards ceremony is on Wednesday 26 April 2017.

Last Updated: 23 April 2017