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Two Mernda members – two different journeys
Two female members of Mernda Fire Brigade tell their very different stories of life in CFA as part of a new digital story telling series.
Julie Mitchelson is a member of CFA, but not an operational firefighter, while Leanne Keenan is often at the frontline battling the flames.
Both of them tell about their life in CFA as part of eight personal stories told in CFA’s latest Digital Story Telling workshop series.
The workshops were first held in 2013, when CFA teamed up with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) to digitally produce the personal stories of 15 volunteers to create more awareness about CFA volunteers – what they do and why they do it
Given the success of this project, in 2014, CFA decided to continue the concept and again called for volunteers to come forward and tell their stories. Their videos were officially launched last month, as part of National Volunteer Week.
“The concept of storytelling is very powerful,” said CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson.
“It passes on valuable knowledge to future generations and potentially to those young men and women who are considering joining CFA.”
Julie tells of her life as a CFA member who supports the brigade in a number of ways that does not involve emergency response.
“I am not one of the first responders – my husband is. I know about heartache, but have not really lost personally. My family is a huge one, although we are not related. I am not a firefighter, but I am a CFA member.”
On the other hand, Leanne Keenan is an operational firefighter “with CFA in my blood” who includes two of Mernda’s tankers – Jack and Matilda – as part of her family.
“As an operational woman, I am a great believer in training. It gives me the confidence to go in and get the job done.”
In her video, Leanne tells of being on the frontline, fighting a fast moving grassfire close to houses.
“Ten hours later we are pulling back into the Mernda Fire Station. Tired, dirty, but safe and sound. My CFA family is here to greet me. It makes my life, my work and what I do at CFA all worthwhile.”