Michelle Croad has called Sorrento home her entire life, and now after an impressive 26-year stint at the local brigade as a dedicated firefighter she has officially taken over the reins as captain.
While there have been a modest 11 members to lead before her, Michelle stands alone as the first woman to captain in the Peninsula Group, further etching her name in history.
“To become captain of the Sorrento Fire Brigade is an honour and a privilege.” Michelle said.
“What I hope to achieve as captain is to try and help build our brigade and just to be a good supportive member in our community.”
Growing up around the streets that surround the station since her early years, Michelle has become heavily immersed in the community and a well-known figure to lean on.
Her interactions with residents and business owners make it clear she is a trusted leader of the community.
“I love the people. A good community spirit just resonates through the people that live here.”
The brigade has been actively trying to recruit new members through their local groups, particularly seeking responders for the summer months when tourism spikes in the region.
“A few weeks ago, we invited the Cub Scouts to the station and we showed them all the trucks and equipment.
“We had the opportunity to talk to the parents and explain what we did, and they had a lot of questions, which is always encouraging.”
While Michelle has the backing of the community, her family also plays an instrumental part of her support network – both on and off the truck. The Croad clan turn out as a united front when they can, with her son Chris being 3rd lieutenant, her husband Andrew and daughter Amy active firefighters and her son James, a non-operational brigade member. Not to mention cousins Darren and Lachlan who are also on board.
Working as a receptionist at a physiotherapist clinic, Michelle has found her diverse skillset has benefitted across both of her trades.
“Some of the skills CFA has taught me has been helpful in my job, whether that is my enhanced communication skills, first-aid or being able to remain calm while under pressure.
“My boss is quite supportive of the role that I play in the community, so I do have a bit of flexibility in my job to be able to attend calls which I’m really grateful for.”
If you’re interested in joining CFA or learning more about volunteering, head to our website to ‘Give Us a Hand’.