Samantha Rothman in Mallacoota during the 2019/20 fire season.
A street at the new CFA VEMTC training facility in Central Highlands has been named after CFA volunteer, Samantha Rothman, who has been recognised for her commitment to training and development.
The new state-of-the-art facility near Ballan was unveiled on Tuesday 23 November and features a driving course with 10 streets named in honour of illustrious CFA members.
CFA unveiled Samantha Street, named after Samantha, in recognition of her localised work at CFA, secondary school programs and broader dedication to volunteerism in her community.
Samantha joined Bacchus Marsh’s junior program in 1988 when she was 14 years old and became a senior member around three years later.
Through the strong guidance of brigade leaders, she became the brigade’s first female member of the Brigade Management Team (BMT) in her early 20s.
At 25 years old, she moved to Maryborough where she joined the local brigade and has now spent 20 years as a firefighter.
She holds the rank of 3rd Lieutenant currently at Maryborough Fire Brigade, making her the first female Lieutenant at the brigade.
Samantha describes herself as having a strong interest in providing training and education for all.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have been led by some great mentors during my time at CFA, and those people provided myself and others with an equal opportunity for training and leadership development,” she said.
Samantha’s incredible passion for learning and development extends beyond her CFA journey, having founded an award-winning school emergency services program called the Emergency Services Journey at Maryborough Education Centre where she works as a secondary teacher.
Additionally, she has formed local youth groups and led training courses as a volunteer for Life Saving Victoria.
She has also been a member of the VFBV Board for eight years and currently holds the position of State Vice President.
“CFA is an amazing organisation and there’s so much we can learn from each other from what we do,” she said.
“From the comradery, the culture, brigade atmosphere and inclusiveness; there’s so much we all get out of being a part of CFA.
“I want to continue promoting our training programs and foster continued skill improvement across all members.”
As a firefighter, Samantha has been involved in some of the state’s most devastating fires, including Black Saturday and the 2019-20 bushfires.
“I was on a Strike Team in Kinglake West during Black Saturday and that was one of the most impactful teams I’d been a part of,” she said.
“While devastating and somewhat terrifying, I’ve had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of helping to fight fires in Mallacoota during the 2019-20 bushfires.
“It was quite the amazing experience to be flown in and evacuated on HMAS Choules.”
A valuable part of working in CFA strike teams for Samantha was being able to meet new people.
“Everyone is there for the same reason regardless of their background – and that’s to help others during an emergency,” Samantha said.
“I’ve made some incredible friends and connections through these opportunities and it goes to show how strong the CFA membership really is.”
Being honoured at the new VEMTEC training facility has come as a surprise to Samantha, but she said it is a recognition of so many others who have contributed to her journey within CFA and other volunteer ventures.
“I feel extremely proud, but I must acknowledge the many people I’ve met who are so dedicated and work so hard for their community,” she said.
“I have worked with some great teams during my time at CFA and I see this as an acknowledgment of that.
“Ultimately, a brigade or program can only work if it has good people within it.”