Long-serving CFA volunteer, firefighter and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre patient Adam Damen saw the results of his labour on Monday when a specialised firefighting helicopter landed at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
The specially arranged landing was organised to fulfil Adam’s special wish allowing him to inspect the upgraded Aerial Intelligence Gathering helicopter which he had been instrumental in developing for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, even while he was being treated for cancer.
“It’s a really complex and amazing piece of technology that has helped us track fires", says his wife Michelle, who is also a CFA member. "But because Adam became unwell, he never got the chance to see it."
Staff from Peter Mac, the Royal Melbourne, State Air Desk, Ambulance Victoria and the CFA cooperated to ensure Adam’s special request was achievable, with Peter Mac and Royal Melbourne staff working together to make sure that Adam was cared for while he attended the helipad.
Michelle says she couldn’t be prouder of her husband, friend and colleague: “He’s just been so dedicated to what he does and says he hasn’t felt that he has done a day’s work in his life."
But now Adam’s legacy is protecting the people of Victoria.
He was also honoured by his colleagues from the Mount Macedon CFA and DELWP Macedon staff who demonstrated their respect with a “drive by” of Peter Mac’s Parkville site during the week,
Adam, 40, who was a palliative care patient at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, sadly died on Tuesday 22 February, after a 10-month battle with synovial sarcoma.
Michelle said fire management and creating the firefighting intelligence system for Victoria’s emergency services including the CFA and DELWP was Adam’s life work.
“He’s a quiet achiever, so he won’t talk about what he does – he just gets it done,”
“It’s a really complex and amazing piece of technology that has helped us track fires", says Michelle. But because Adam became unwell, he never got the chance to see it."
“It was his life’s dedication to have the machine up and running.”
Adam worked in forest fire management since he was 20 and served during the Black Saturday and Black Summer fires in Victoria. His roles have taken him all around the country worked with our partner agencies in WA, Tasmania, NSW and ACT.
Together he and Michelle, who were high school sweethearts, have more than 40 years of service between them – Adam at DELWP and Michelle at CFA and both CFA volunteers.
They have two daughters, 10 and 8.
Adam was well-known and respected by both CFA and DELWP members, and received many messages and well wishes from colleagues over his last days.
- Adam and Michelle were high school sweethearts and shared a common interest in emergency services.
- Mount Macedon CFA and DELWP Macedon staff demonstrated their respect with a “drive by” of Peter Mac’s Parkville site.
||CFA with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre