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MCG applauds as proud CFA members march by
The spectacle of around 200 CFA members marching around the MCG today ‘would have brought a tear to a glass eye’ says Broadford Fire Brigade volunteer Gaybrielle Burgess.
The crowd was on its feet as the parade – drawn from brigades across the state – marched around. Volunteers got high-fives from kids sitting on the fence, men dipped their hats and some even took their hats off as a sign of respect.
“We were given a standing ovation for something I love to do,” Gaybrielle says.
“To see young kids clapping and cheering for you just because you were wearing yellow. The feeling was amazing. People were saying ‘thank you, thank you’.
“And to think – I got to walk around the MCG!”
Gaybrielle joined other members as part of the parade which came about through a CFA partnership with both Essendon and Geelong football clubs. The round 4 match-up between the two clubs was called ‘the Country Game’ as a way of paying tribute to the contribution of rural and regional Victoria to the AFL.
The Country Game was the idea of former Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy who also decided it was important to recognise CFA, after all in most country towns the two community hubs are the footy/netball club and the CFA brigade.
Chief Officer Joe Buffone led the parade.
"I was privileged and felt very proud to have led our CFA members who came from all over the State today to parade around the MCG before the game," he said.
"At one stage I turned around and saw the 250 CFA volunteers in blues and wildfire gear. It looked like we took up half the MCG and the crowd were giving them a standing ovation. It was a humbling sight and experience.
"A heartfelt thank you to our members for what they all do in their communities and in helping to make Victoria safer."
Gaybrielle was with the Chief during the parade.
“When I walked out there, I was walking passed the goal posts and I looked back (at the rest of the parade) and I was so proud. It would have brought a tear to a glass eye,” Gaybrielle said.
“I turned to the Chief Officer and said ‘look at that”. We turned and it was like wow.”
The parade was a cross-section of members marching – young and old, men and women. Gaybrielle said she thought it was inspiring for some of the teenage girls in the crowd to see women as well as men marching as firefighters.
“I high-fived a couple of young girls in the crowd who were really excited, and I told them ‘anything the boys can do, girls can do just as well’,” she said.