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Tana Wilson - CFA Peer Support
This week CFA celebrates Seniors Week by recognising the important role that seniors play in the community.
CFA has many long-serving members whose wealth of experience and contribution to the community is instrumental in achieving our goal of protecting lives and property throughout Victoria.
District 10 Operations Manager Allan Rankin met with one of CFA’s senior members, Tana Wilson, to talk about her history with CFA, her current role and why she feels it’s so important for seniors to volunteer and stay connected with their local communities.
Tana, a peer support person in Sale, has a long history with CFA and it’s her invaluable experience that enables her to help those in need through the Peer Support Program.
“I first joined CFA in 1987 after moving to Willung in 1986. Willung is a small, tight community and CFA is very important given its location of Merriman Creek Valley, Holly Plain State Park to the North and Mullungdung state park to the South,” Tana said.
“At this time, manpower was short and I thought if I offered to join and act as communications officer, it would help the numbers to crew the tanker.
Tana became the first female member at Willung Fire Brigade, learning the communications officer role and holding the position for 19 years.
“In that role I communicated with the responding operational vehicles and ground crews and crews for strike teams and coordinated catering when required,” continued Tana.
In 1998, she was approached by a friend who was a peer support person who thought Tana had the right attributes to make a good peer support person.
This is a role Tana still does today.
“As a peer, I support CFA members and immediate families when required with issues as a result of CFA incidents and related work or personal problems.
“While it can be frustrating, challenging and exhausting, it’s also fulfilling and rewarding. It’s an honour to be able to help any way I can.
“If there is a reason or a secret to remaining active and involved I believe it’s to enjoy and be passionate about anything you do. Stay connected to your community and give of yourself to those less fortunate. The rewards are enormous, and age is no barrier.
“Life experiences teach much that can be of benefit in interacting with others. There is a role for everyone and regardless of age or skills, we all have something to offer.
“My involvement with CFA has enriched my life in many ways; I have made many wonderful friends and acquaintances and had experiences beyond my wilderness dreams.”
Tana highly recommends volunteering to other seniors.
“It doesn’t have to be CFA, it can be any aspect of life, but you get back what you give and it’s the most rewarding and easy way to stay connected to everybody in the community”.