Faces of CFA

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What binds CFA members is the common goal to protect lives and property. But they are a diverse bunch – every member has a story and Faces of CFA introduces you to just some of those stories.



What is your CFA role?

I’m the brigade captain, an experienced strike team leader and sector commander. I’m also in the final stages of endorsement as a bushfire fire investigator.

Why did you join?

I joined my local brigade as a Junior in 1996. Back then when you turned 16 you joined your local fire brigade. My dad was a member and has continued to be an active volunteer for almost 55 years.

What incident has had the greatest impact on you?

Black Saturday and the weeks that followed had a significant impact on me as a firefighter but mostly as a person. This experience changed me and while I tried the tough guy ‘suck it up’ act for a while, it eventually caught up with me.

It was a valuable lesson about the importance of speaking out when you are not OK, and this is something I continue to drill into anyone who will listen. We have access to service providers and support through the Member Assistance

Program and CFA’s Peer Support Program. Use them. I am still not able to talk about the events of that day much, but it has ultimately shaped me into the more resilient person I am now.

Who have been your mentors in CFA?

I have many amazing mentors, each contributing their unique perspective, skills, guidance and experiences. The key people along the journey so far have been: Geoff Martin (my dad), Noel Honeychurch, Leigh Stephens, Hugh Kelly, Mark Forder, David Cleator, Ray Mundy, Chris Jacobson, Carl Watkins, Luke Carracher and David Brown.

What have been the highlights of your time in CFA?

Being awarded the National Emergency Medal for the 2009 fires and 2019-20 fires, and being part of the team that delivered our new $2.5 million Junortoun Fire Station in 2022.

During the 2022 floods, I led the brigade when we crewed our big fill appliance 24 hours a day for 16 days while it was deployed to Echuca. This included two shuttle trips a day to Echuca in our FCV for crew changeover. A Herculean effort.

How do you motivate your brigade members?

I motivate members through my transformational leadership style. I convey a clear vision of our brigade and broader CFA goals and ensure members feel valued. I have a real passion for what we do and can energise our team through my leadership. I focus on helping members support one another and provide them with my support, skills, guidance and experiences – just as I was mentored.

I provide the guidance and inspiration they need to commit, work hard and perform well. My goals for members are based around personal development, promoting diversity, inclusion, loyalty, respect, motivation, empowerment and leadership.

I have inspired others to review or modify their expectations, perceptions and motivations to work towards our common goals as individuals and as a team.

What lessons are you most keen to pass onto other members?

Our future leaders should continue to focus on diversity and inclusion. We need to make sure we are involving all our members in the decision-making process. We need to empower and inspire our members to be the best people they can, give them some skin in the game and make them accountable.

We need to involve members’ families in the brigade through social functions and acknowledge family contributions and their support of our members. Through this we will see brigade members thrive, be successful, respectful, honest and loyal to CFA. Successful members will lead to higher retention rates, attract new members, and inspire a greater participation and commitment from existing members.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

What spare time? My wife Lanie, Hudson (Jack Russell) and I get away when we can. We’ve recently bought a caravan and have planned some trips. I make my own beer and enjoy the science behind it. I’m also a big motorsport fan. I watch everything including F1, IndyCar and NASCAR. I am a loyal Supercars fan and attend the Bathurst 1000 every year.


Submitted by News and Media