Peter Green with CFA Deputy Chair Michelle Maclean
Hamilton Fire Brigade’s Peter Green has received the 2020 Spirit of CFA Inclusion and Fairness Champion Award in this year’s ceremony.
Peter spent 15 years as a CFA volunteer at Hamilton, joining as an active member at Wonga Park when he was 16.
“I joined CFA as I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps but also it just felt like the right thing to do to help in the community,” Peter said.
He left CFA after six years, but re-joined after the Black Saturday fires of 2009, firstly, with the District 5 brigade and then Hamilton brigade in 2010.
Over the years, what he witnessed and what he endured would stay with him forever.
“I broke down with PTSI (post traumatic stress injury) and a conversion disorder in February 2016 after attending to a horrific car versus truck accident.”
Nevertheless, when he was comfortable with his situation, he set himself the goal that no one ever should go through a breakdown like he did.
Peter now does presentations to brigades and groups in South West Region about mental health and wellbeing. He is assisted by District 4 and 5 Peer Team Coordinator David Ferguson and former Wellbeing Advisor Trudy Dellar.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a big roadblock in the way of doing presentations, but with the worst of the pandemic behind them, Peter said he’s looking forward to getting back out there presenting again.
“The presentations touch on my story and what I have been through, but the most important part is talking about how to help and engage yourself and others who you feel may be struggling with a mental health condition,” he said.
Along with presenting to CFA, Peter has also presented to nurses, ambulance members and nursing/para-medicine students. He also volunteers for the Black Dog Institute, speaking about mental health to numerous community groups and high school students. He has since set up a Facebook page peteandtheblackdog for those who can’t attend a talk.
“Working through the claims process of a PTSI claim has not been without its challenges. It is an area that is still evolving and one that compensable bodies are learning along the way. Part of my mission is to make it easier for people to claim and make the process a lot smoother for them,” Peter said.
Peter was nominated for the award because of his willingness to tell his story. His experience resonates with people and significantly impacts them. His presentations challenge the status quo across Districts 4 and 5 and help to break down barriers and help people understand that’s it’s OK to talk about your issues.