News & Media

Inspire Awards coming up Rosey

By: Leith Hillard

Category: Honours & Awards

  10.18 AM 12 April, 2017

Location: General

Views: 2659

Six years after Rosey Chester was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis (MS) she joined Alexandra Fire Brigade. Both her boys had started primary school and, when asked to join, “I was unable to step backwards quickly enough”.

Rosey admitted she’s not very good at saying no, and so her job became to take all group radio traffic 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Her first day in the role was a Total Fire Ban. During her first seven years, she kept a log of radio traffic for all Alexandra Group trucks and had to stay within hearing distance of the fixed radio.

“It was difficult to even go outside,” said Rosey.

One challenge she takes in her stride, however, is MS.

“I don’t consider myself disabled,” she said, “merely seriously inconvenienced at times. Having MS has put life in perspective. My long-suffering husband Chris seems to be able to find a solution to every challenge.

“He and my two sons Lecks and Ben are extremely supportive and my priorities are family first.”

Rosey has been nominated for an Inspire Awards®, 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.   

“I’m somewhat bemused and amused by this nomination,” continued Rosey. “It’s our firefighters I find inspirational. They have to put a lot of time into training as well as being available for call outs.”

Rosey has now served the Alexandra Fire Brigade and her community for 19 years and is the second-longest-serving comms officer in the Alexandra Group.

“The most significant event over this time was the Black Saturday fires when about half our group area was burnt out,” continued Rosey. “I was so proud of our firefighters and our community. Life is still now split up into before and after Black Saturday.

“Since those fires, communications have been restructured so radio traffic is primarily through Vicfire.

“My role now is mainly listening in to events to make sure everything is running smoothly and reporting any concerns to the group officer. Occasionally, for big jobs, I’ll become the radio operator.

“I love giving back to the community that looks after me so well.”

MS is increasingly affecting Rosey’s mobility and flexibility. She has to use two hands on the portable radio transceiver and the shakes come and go. She wears splints indoors that bend at the knees and rides a scooter outdoors and is also often in a wheelchair.

She and Chris retired from their family computer business in 2014 in part to help her better manage her fatigue, but her CFA commitment has not slowed down. In fact, it energises her.

“I feel like everything inspires me,” said Rosey.

“Chris and I like to try to make everything we do fun. Life’s too short and I think that fun is infectious.”

The Inspire Awards ceremony is on Wednesday 26 April 2017.

Last Updated: 13 April 2017