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Supermum, Super Member
Diane Lawson calls herself one of the “Autism Supermums”; the Gordon FB member is a single parent and mother of three children including son, Zak, who has severe autism.
Diane first went along to CFA when she wanted to help out with the bookwork but, “then I got to squirt the fire hose and use the equipment and everything changed.” She has been a firefighter for 13 years. Being a stay-at-home mum, she wanted to contribute to the community and she was welcomed by CFA.
Now, she is a volunteer firefighter, secretary/treasurer in her brigade, jurisdictional trainer with the Australian Emergency Management Institute, is studying an Advanced Diploma in Emergency Management, is learning to be a Fire Ready Presenter and is a gifted communicator.
Diane has discovered the joy of community education, and it’s a perfect fit. She is exuberant and articulate. She laughs easily, and shares stories about the fun she has with the school kids and adults she trains. “I can get 24 kids in the truck, and it’s the coolest thing. Sometimes, we bring a whole crew of girls, and I ask the kids, ‘Who thought we’d be all boys?’ and they put up their hands.”
So well-regarded are her training skills, she was recently flown to Perth to facilitate a Leadership Development Program which involved Life Saving, SES, Red Cross and other agencies.
Being a CFA member has given her a close connection with her community, and the community helps her do her CFA work. “I have the best babysitter in the world. Without her, I would not be able to do any of this.”
Whether you are a woman or a man, she says, CFA fits. “You are a member. Your gender doesn’t matter. No matter how small your contribution is, it makes a massive difference to your community.”
In the lead-up to International Women’s Day this Friday 7 March, CFA is profiling women who represent the many and varied roles that CFA members play in their communities - highlighting what they give and what they get back.
All the stories featured this week will be published in a special booklet (Celebrating CFA Women) to be launched on Friday. See also: Celebrating CFA Women
Other profiles this week: