As National Volunteer Week draws to a close, members like Kate Ryan-Wills have reflected on the experiences they’ve been given through volunteering with CFA.
Kate’s volunteering journey started in 1989 when she joined as a Junior with Hoppers Crossing Fire Brigade, but her involvement started long before then.
Her dad, Geoff Wright, had already been a member for 10 years, while her mum Angie was part of the Ladies Auxiliary.
Kate said she recalls her childhood fondly.
“We got to grow up on a fire station! Mum and Dad were heavily involved with the fire brigade, so it was like our second home,” Kate said
“Fire brigade life was at the core of all of our family activities.”.
After completing her junior membership at Hoppers Crossing, Kate became a member of the Portland Fire Brigade for several years, followed by a brief stint with Brim Fire Brigade.
She then joined the Horsham Fire Brigade in 2010, after relocating to the area with her young family.
The CFA tradition has continued with Kate’s eldest children Shaun and Claire, who are both members of Horsham Fire Brigade running team.
Kate said her youngest daughter Piper also wants to do her bit, even helping wash the trucks at the station.
“Piper is adamant she wants to be a junior but at 8 years old, she still has a few years to wait.
“No doubt she’ll join as soon as she turns 11.”
The family connections don’t stop there, as Kate met her husband Daniel through the Horsham Fire Brigade.
In keeping with this year’s National Volunteer Week, theme of ‘Better Together’, Kate said their relationship is strengthened by their mutual love of volunteering with CFA.
“We met on Daniel’s first deployment 8 years ago, which was his first big job,” said Kate.
“What started as a friendship with a mutual love for brigade life, developed into a romantic relationship three years ago and we were married earlier this year.
“We’re able to spend heaps of time together at the fire brigade, doing what we both love.”
Kate said CFA is good for anyone who’s considering volunteering.
“We’re just ordinary people with a passion for our community,” she said.
“Volunteering has shown me everyone’s got something to give. It might only be something small, but we’ve all got something and combined, it helps form a team and build the dynamics for something incredible.”
Find out more about volunteering with CFA at https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteer-careers/volunteers
- Daniel and Kate (left) with members of Horsham Fire Brigade marching team
- Kate with her mum, Angie
- 8 yo Piper, helping wash the truck
- Kate and Daniel
- Kates dad, Geoff during the Werribee floods (circa 1983)