A new Forward Command Vehicle has been added to the fleet of CFA District 24’s Ovens Valley Group, thanks to significant donations following the 2019/2020 summer.
Part of the funding for the FCV came from a $150,000 donation from the organisers of the Brighter Days Festival, with that total divided equally between Group and the ten brigades in the Ovens Valley.
Group Officer Michael Freudenstein said the new Toyota Landcruiser will be beneficial for the whole area and replaces an older vehicle.
“It’s a technologically advanced vehicle with comms and a computer to help with fire mapping, as well as carrying medical supplies, water, and food.”
The money has been a great boost for the small brigades in the area, being the Gapsted, Myrtleford, Buffalo River, Mudgegonga, Rosewhite, Ovens-Eurobin, Porepunkah, Bright, Harrietville, and Hotham-Dinner Plain brigades also receiving $13,636 each.
“It was extremely generous for the Brighter Days Foundation to extend their fundraising to the Ovens Valley Group of Brigades,” said Group Officer Freudenstein.
“It’s a local family-friendly festival so they were motivated to donate to us as we’d had about 30 days of constant firefighting around our area in the Ovens Valley.”
“It’s going to a range of different projects. There’s a lot of development around Porepunkah so they’re putting the money towards expanding their fire station so they can add a pumper down the track.
“Buffalo River is also doing a shed extension, while the other brigades are putting the money towards equipment or simply saving for bigger projects.”
In addition to the money from the festival, Group Officer Michael Freudenstein said a $50,000 donation from the Positive Ideas Group, a sub-fund of the Australian Communities Foundation, also went towards the new FCV.
“We’d been saving for a replacement for many years and these two donations from the Australian Communities Foundation and the Brighter Days Foundation really got us over the line.
Group Officer Freudenstein also thanked the Brighter Days Foundation for allowing international superstar Katy Perry to use the festival facilities to perform a free concert for firefighters and the local community.
“This really boosted morale for volunteers and the community after the long summer.”