News & Media

KS Build OK with CFA volunteers

  • L-R: FF Darren Thompson, A/OM Graeme Bourne, Ken Smithson, Capt Bill Boyd

By: CFA Media

Category: Partnerships

  6.55 PM 15 May, 2013


Location: District 13 News

Views: 2187

KS Build General Manager Ken Smithson remembers well the phone call he received in the early afternoon of February 7 2009.

His Divisional Manager and Yarra Glen CFA Captain Bill Boyd rang to say something wasn’t right.

“Bill Boyd said to me something’s going down because we could see the smoke from Templestowe, and I just said don’t worry about coming to work, just go and fix the fires,” Ken says.

As the employer of 2 CFA volunteer firefighters (FF Darren Thompson also works at the Mitcham company), Ken says losing two of his team from time to time is a small issue compared to the benefit to the community.

“I guess there’s always a sacrifice for the firm but we’ve learnt to get around it. We’ve got good staff here and everybody backs everybody else up so it works really well.”

As part of National Volunteer Week (13-19 May) that support was recognised with a low key ceremony in which Ken was presented with a framed “Spirit of CFA” print and a Firestar Rose.

Bill Boyd says it’s deserved reconginiton for 20 years of support to him and CFA.

“You couldn’t manage work and CFA if you didn’t have a supportive employer, the both go hand in hand, so I’m very fortunate,” Bill says.

“Strike teams, deployments interstate, I’ve always tried to make it a long weekend to minimise the impact on the company, Ken has always supported me in that. And of course there’s always the occasional fire which keeps you out all night and you’re a bit late for work and that’s never been an issue.”

District 13 Acting Operations Manager Graeme Bourne said employers such as Ken Smithson were the unsung heroes of the community.

"It’s paramount, if we haven’t got the support from the employers, then our membership can’t progress, particularly through campaign fires. If it wasn’t for employers volunteers wouldn’t be able to stayaway for extended periods.” Mr Bournes says.

See also:

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Last Updated: 17 May 2013