When Madi Hadjistefanis was training to become a CFA firefighter 11 years ago, she didn’t anticipate she’d meet her future husband at that very training course.
Madi was undertaking her Minimum Skills training as a member of Traralgon, where she met Steve Hadjistefanis who was a member of Traralgon West.
Being from neighbouring Traralgon brigades, Madi and Steve would get to know each other more through their involvement in CFA, incident responses and additional training courses.
“We both decided to join CFA following the Black Saturday bushfires,” she said.
“I watched as Gippsland was heavily impacted and felt helpless at home, so I wanted to do something to help and do my bit for the community.”
Madi now works with CFA as District 27 District Support Officer and Steve is now the 1st Lieutenant at Traralgon West and former Captain.
“Our involvement in CFA has shaped so much of our lives,” Madi said.
“You don’t necessarily join thinking it would have such a huge, positive impact on your future like it has for us.”
The couple now have a two-year-old son named Anthony.
“We’ve both made some really close friends through CFA who all now have children themselves, so it’s really growing into a second family.”
Madi said people don’t always realise the great connections CFA staff have with one another as well.
“It’s great to reflect on the amazing friendships I’ve made at CFA as both a staff and volunteer member,” she said.
“We’re all in CFA for the same reason and we all share the same values of community spirit and volunteerism.
For those who are thinking about joining CFA, Madi’s advice is to “just do it… you never know what’s around the corner and it is such a rewarding experience”.
Those interested in volunteering with CFA can contact their local brigade, CFA District Headquarters or submit an Expression of Interest form on the CFA website at cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteers-careers/volunteer-with-cfa