Jodie Harris and Kellie Clarkson (in the back) with Lieutenant Fiona Macken in the front.
When CFA volunteer firefighters Kellie Clarkson and Jodie Harris joined Diamond Creek Fire Brigade, they were not sure what to expect.
Now, they reflect on how much they have grown personally through firefighting and have loved the support of their ‘second family’ at the brigade.
Kellie has been a volunteer with Diamond Creek for just over four years. Her interest in firefighting initially came from her firefighting family, with her Dad the captain of Diamond Creek and her brother a career firefighter with Fire Rescue Victoria.
Kelly says being in CFA has given her opportunities in her career and life that she had not expected when she joined.
“I was quite shy before joining CFA; I didn’t really talk to anyone in the brigade at first or have a lot of confidence, but since it has really brought me out of my shell.”
More than just personal development, CFA has also given Kelly career choices through the training with CFA.
“The training I’ve done to be a firefighter enabled me to teach Certificate II Public Safety in my previous job. Something that never I would have been able to do without the knowledge I’ve gained through volunteering,” she said.
“I’m constantly surprised by how much you actually learn through being a firefighter.”
Kellie loves that her brigade has quite a few female role models but acknowledges gender has never gotten in the way of being a firefighter.
“When we are on the fireground everyone is equal, there’s no one carrying a hose for me. We all have jobs to do.”
Jodie Harris volunteers alongside Kellie at Diamond Creek and like Kellie loves how it has helped her grow as a person.
“I joined in 2015 as a Junior after walking by one day. I thought it would be a new challenge for me to take on and see where it would take me.”
“One year later, I transitioned to being a Senior Firefighter and now five years on I love seeing how much confidence I have now, it really has pushed me out of my comfort zone and I’ve done things I never thought I would.”
Jodie said the real reward is helping the community and the connection she has to the brigade now.
“I love Diamond Creek – it is a second family! We all share the same values when it comes to helping the community and we all work together really well.
“If there’s one thing I can say to anyone thinking about joining CFA it is to give it a go. It’s really rewarding – from the training to the social aspect, it’s an awesome community to be a part of.”
- Jodie Harris (left) and Kellie Clarkson (right)