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Lifelong friendships built through CFA

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When Brad Morpeth decided to join Woorinen South Fire Brigade in 2018, he didn’t yet know his decision to volunteer would see him form lifelong friendships with the people he’d meet during his time as a firefighter.

Lifelong friendships built through CFA

Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers across Victoria are acknowledging the close bonds they’ve formed as brigade members to celebrate International Day of Friendship on Thursday, 30 July 2020.

Brad, who is now a 3rd Lieutenant at the brigade, will celebrate International Friendship Day reflecting on the people in CFA with whom he has made a strong connection with.

In August 2016 Brad’s family experienced a house fire which left everything destroyed, but the camaraderie of the CFA crews on scene and the support brigades showed his family after the fire piqued his interest in joining.

“After the fire the brigade stayed in touch with us and firefighters often came around to check in on our kids which meant a lot to us,” Brad said. 

“Once our family recovered I made the decision to join the CFA and I regret not having done so sooner.

“I went into CFA hoping to give back to the community and essentially found a second family in the process.

“When I first started I felt really support by the other members, everyone had something different to show me and through those interactions you develop actual friendships.”

Brad said volunteering with CFA has been unlike meeting people through any other community group.

“I’m able to share unique experiences with these people that I wouldn’t be able to share with anyone else. For example, during a major grass fire our former Captain and I found ourselves in a high-pressure situation and were able to stop the fire one metre from a home,” he said.

“Only the two of us were there at the time and that’s a memory I now share with him and they’re the things you can talk about in the years ahead.

“I feel like I’ve made friends for life.”

Woorinen South members have managed to stay in touch with each other despite the coronavirus restrictions in place, using social media and frequent calls.

“It has been tough not being able to see everyone once a week but we’ve all managed as well as we can,” Brad said.

“It has just been about giving everyone a call and having a chat to make sure they’re doing okay and we remain connected.”

He encouraged everyone interested in volunteering for their local CFA brigade to “give it a go”.

“If you’re looking for a way to meet new people and make meaningful connections with people, CFA is the way to go,” he said.

“The people in CFA brigades will have you back not only on the fire ground but in life.

“I’d encourage anyone who has thought about it to give it a go, it’s so rewarding.”