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Mildura firefighters run 563km to Melbourne
Ten CFA firefighters will join 10 MFB colleagues to run from Mildura to Melbourne in memory of well-respected Senior Station Officer Damien Burke.
The Damien Burke M2M Memorial Run starts Monday, 29 August, with each member running two five-kilometre stints in relay each day to complete the 563km journey. They will finish at the Crown Metropol in Melbourne on Saturday, 3 September where they will take part in the annual Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb event.
The 20-strong group is raising money towards the Stair Climb’s $343,000 target, which will go to the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute based at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Damien had been an MFB firefighter for 28 years and was on secondment at CFA’s Mildura Fire Station when he passed away suddenly in February this year. His wife Anne is part of the support crew for the run and his nine children and four grandchildren will be joining the run for the final leg.
Mildura Fire Station Senior Station Officer Michael Sporton said the relay is a way these firefighters can show gratitude to Damien for his strong leadership, kindness, integrity and compassion.
“Burkey was a great man and even though he was only with CFA since mid-last year, he had an incredibly positive influence on all of our members at Mildura,” Mr Sporton said.
“We’re taking on this physical and mental challenge in his honour. It’s a chance to show solidarity in commemorating of one of the best firefighters in Victoria.
“It’s fitting that the money we raise for the Firefighter Stair Climb will go to such a worthy children’s charity because Burkey was also a dedicated family man.”
The six-day relay will see the group stopping overnight in Ouyen, Sea Lake, Charlton and Bendigo, before reaching MFB’s Footscray Fire Station on Friday, 2 September, which is where Damien was based for most of his career.
The next morning, they will run to the Crown Metropol in Melbourne’s CBD for the Stair Climb. They will join 550 firefighters from across the state in running up 28 flights of stairs at the hotel, while wearing 25kgs of turnout gear and breathing apparatus.