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No boundaries to volunteering
Epping CFA volunteer Michael Cawthan describes his brigade as "one big family" and in his story below it is easy to see just how these members look out for each other. Read more about Epping CFA's major fundraiser to build an electonic opening door to assist one of its members in a wheelchair.
Back in 2012, Epping CFA had some major refurbishments to areas of its station and a new motor room to house the appliances built.
We are a pretty tight knit group at Epping and we look after each other as we are all one big family, so when we see one of our members needs help, it’s a call to arms for all.
This is the case at the moment, as after renovations to the existing station's front entrance door, our disabled member Anthony Gray and his companion dog named 'Cougar' have some difficulty accessing the doorway due to him being wheelchair bound, and having very limited hand use.
Anthony joined the brigade back in 2001 as a young man looking for some adventure, and also keen to help out in the community.
Anthony set about gaining qualifications in Wildfire Fire Fighter and Low Structure Fire Fighter and was enjoying the CFA experience. He was also keen to do outdoor sports and quickly turned his athleticism and vigour to BMX bike riding and instantly started to beat others younger than him with just being in the sport for a short time. Suddenly, in July 2004, Anthony had an accident while competing in his chosen sport and was left wheelchair bound from the accident.
This hasn’t stopped Anthony from continuing his volunteer service with the brigade as he was awarded his 10 year medal at a Brigade Awards night in August 2010, and is still a keen member that has served 12 years with the brigade and is eager to help out wherever he can.
This has prompted the brigade to try and help Anthony wherever they can to fullfill his duties, and we are undertaking a major fundraising mission to convert the station foyer front door to an electronic opening door so Anthony can come and go as often as he likes doing his volunteer work.
This will also enable Anthony to use a designated remote to open the door as well as turning off the station security system and give him the freedom to move around the station working in the office or on the computer in the meeting room.
Anthony sees no bounds to people with a disability, as he has shown us with his work and endeavour to the brigade and local community over the years. As we mark International Day for People with a Disability today (3 December), we can reflect on how Anthony is a shining example of what life is all about.
Epping Fire Brigade is keen to help members of its community and their own, in any way they can, as this is what mateship and camaraderie are all about
Secretary Epping CFA