Mernda's Ray of light: Spirit of CFA finalist

Suits are at the dry cleaners, hair is being trimmed and shoes are being polished all in preparation for a very special day.


There are only five days until the inaugural Spirit of CFA Awards Ceremony and our finalists are busily preparing themselves for an afternoon of festivities held at the Mercure Ballarat this Sunday.

The Spirt of CFA Awards recognise both outstanding achievements and significant contributions made by CFA staff and volunteers to not only our organisation but also local communities across the state.

CFA received an abundance of high quality nominations, including Seniors Award nominee Ray Rosales from Mernda Fire Brigade.

Ray has been nominated for this award by his sister Flora, who said giving has become the norm in Ray’s life.

“In Ray’s words, volunteering gives him a sense of achievement and personal satisfaction,” Flora said.

Ray who has been a member of the Mernda Fire Brigade for over 14 years, was extremely surprised to hear he had been nominated, asking his sister, “Why did you do this to me?”

“I’m very humbled and proud to be recognised as a nominee. I can’t thank my sister enough,” said Ray.

Although he never expected to be acknowledged like this, the support from his captain and peers means the world to him.

It’s no surprise to the brigade that Ray should be recognised as he is always the first to respond to the captain’s text messages to say he is available to help.

Although Ray is nominated for his contribution as a senior member, he doesn't consider his age to be a barrier. Ray picks up multiple tasks at the brigade including management of the social media channels.

On Sunday mornings, Ray can be found sweeping the engine bay or cleaning the station, usually well before other members show up. “Just so the others can respond quicker when called out” he explained.

Ray has been instrumental in the introduction of the Breakfast with a Firefighter initiative which connects the community with CFA by allowing schools to invite students who are finding it tough at Christmas time. Last year’s event had 60 children and members from the local CFA, SES and Victoria Police.

Ray’s charitable work is remarkable, whether it's driving the St. Vincent de Paul Christmas food drive or helping in times of crisis, Ray is always on hand to support others.

During the weeks following the devastating Black Saturday bushfires, Ray spent more than two months working non-stop at the shelter in Whittlesea making sure that families were looked after during that terrible time.

After talking with Ray it's very obvious why he has been nominated. Besides his contributions and achievements he is an extremely humble, kind and generous person.

“I do what I do because I like to meet a lot of people, I want to show my appreciation and give back to my community” he said.

“It is easy to help someone in need; after a while it just becomes a habit and a norm to live by.”

All of us would be lucky to have someone like Ray in our community.

Good luck with your nomination Ray!

Author: Saskia Van Bever