Four CFA brigades will directly benefit from a generous $350,000 donation, which was raised through fundraising efforts of businessman Ben Luckock and his parents, John and Lauraine, following last year’s bushfires.
Ben grew up in Victoria but has since moved overseas and watched from afar as the fires ravaged Australia last year.
He felt compelled to help, so he called on the help of family, friends, his colleagues and global business associates at Trafigura, to raise funds to assist brigades from different parts of the state.
The donations were split across four CFA brigades identified by the Luckock family and were part of $27.8 million in public donations to the CFA for the 2019-20 bushfire season.
Cudgewa Fire Brigade and Nariel Valley Fire Brigade each received $135,000 to fund new Ultra-Light Tankers (ULT).
Meanwhile, Barwon Heads Fire Brigade was allocated $66,000 to help fund a replacement Forward Command Vehicle (FCV) and Swifts Creek Fire Brigade received $14,000 to complete an existing grant funding requirement.
Ben said he was inspired by the thousands of CFA volunteers who left their families and jobs when their communities needed defending during last year’s bushfires.
“Donations play an important role in helping CFA brigades secure equipment and vehicles to better serve the community,” he said.
“Barwon Heads Fire Brigade is particularly close to my heart; it’s where my parents now live in retirement, so it was important to me that we help bolster the brigade’s equipment to help it better protect lives and property.
“Both of my parents previously volunteered with CFA and their involvement provided me with an insight into the sacrifices made by all firefighters across Victoria.”
John said he and his wife Lauraine volunteered for Newham Fire Brigade for more than 10 years.
“We are grateful for the efforts of all CFA firefighters,” he said.
“We were inclined to donate to Swifts Creek Brigade as we have family who lived in the area.
“We also contacted senior CFA leaders to provide us with advice on which brigades would most benefit from new ULT appliances.”
Barwon Heads Brigade Captain Helen Wood said the brigade was incredibly humbled by the generosity of those who contributed to the Luckock family’s fundraiser.
“In January last year, John and Lauraine paid a visit to our station to ask how funds could help our brigade,” Captain Wood said.
“At the time we were preparing for a station renovation that would give us more room in the engine bay and we anticipated this would enable us to accommodate an upgraded FCV.
“The FCV is a 4x4 ground observation vehicle, which can be used as an incident control vehicle and makes for quick transport of personnel to incident sites.”
Cudgewa Brigade Captain Paul Carkeek said the significant donation will help the brigade secure a ULT appliance, boosting its service to the community.
“These vehicles are better suited to take on the terrain in our response area, so it will be beneficial to have one of our own,” he said.
“We are thankful for the outstanding support the Luckock’s and the wider community have shown to the brigade. These donations have increased our capability and self-reliance in many aspects.”
The generosity of Ben’s employer Trafigura, a global business based in Switzerland, was particularly appreciated as its employees and partners recognised the need to help following the devastating fire events of 2019-20 Australian bushfire season.