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Jo paves the way for women in CFA
CFA volunteer Jo Ussing is set to make history on 1 July, becoming the first ever female Group Officer in CFA’s West Region and the only current female to hold this role in Victoria.
Always up for a challenge, Jo said she was excited about her new role and looked forward to tackling the challenge head-on.
Jo’s new role will see her coordinating CFA’s Lowan Group which consists of the Broughton, Diapur, Lorquon, Netherby, Nhill, Propodollah, Winiam, Woorak and Yanac brigades.
This new role will see Jo managing the Group’s operations, personnel, assets and equipment.
“Knowing that brigade members within the Lowan Group already function well as a team made it easy to accept a leadership role. I’m confident that in this role I will be mentored by some very experienced and talented people.”
“I am really looking forward to having the ability to empower those on the fireground and to work in a knowledgeable and skilled team”.
Jo is a well-respected member of the Lowan Group, Nhill Fire Brigade and the general community. She joined Winiam Fire Brigade in 2004, but has since moved to the Nhill Brigade as it is closer to home.
“I have a long and proud family history with CFA that dates back four generations,” said Jo.
“Both my parents and my brothers are CFA members which was definitely a driving factor to me joining.
“One of my brothers was a fourth generation Captain of the Winiam Brigade, so when my kids were old enough I decided to join.”
During her 13 years with CFA Jo has held many roles including firefighter, Communications Officer and District 17 Peer Support Coordinator. These roles have seen her travel the state to assist with major campaign fires, floods and storms.
“There’s never a dull moment in CFA; and I love all aspects of it,” she said.
“Whether it’s the adrenaline rush on the fireground or the social aspects of spending time at the station, CFA provides so many fantastic learning opportunities.”
As well as being an outstanding CFA and community member Jo loves to push herself to the limit and in September is set to embark on a one month hiking trip in remote Western Australia to raise money for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, a cause close to her heart.
“The 600km journey will definitely test my fitness, but I’m very determined and passionate about raising much needed awareness and funds for the cause,” she said.