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Thursday, 05 December 2019 11:50

Flowerdale CFA volunteers return the favour to help NSW

Flowerdale was devastated by the Black Saturday fires but the destruction never dampened the dedication of local volunteer firefighters.

Now with NSW reeling from fire, the Flowerdale community is repaying some of the support it received in 2009.

At the weekend Flowerdale CFA volunteers inspired the local community to raise $1000 to donate to the Rainbow Flats Rural Fire Service brigade which lost its station and some equipment while houses were destroyed in the town.

Thirteen Flowerdale district people died in the 2009 fires and many local houses were destroyed. The fire station was damaged but survived.

Captain Brian Makin said the community had rallied to make the brigade’s annual open day a successful fundraiser.

“Our treasurer Trudie Gouge was watching the news and saw what happened at Rainbow Flats and suggested we donate the money from our annual open day to support the brigade,” Captain Makin said.

“We received money from New South Wales and we had personnel come down here to help…we’re just one brigade returning a favour.”

Captain Makin said the brigade was thankful for the support it received after the Black Saturday fires and the community was keen to support the fundraiser. “We put up a big board explaining the donation and people were happy to support it,” he said. “New South Wales came to assist us with money and people, now we’re repaying them.”

The open day, which included stallholders from the regular Flowerdale market, also carried important fire safety messages.

“We handed out fire prevention material and did demonstrations on fire safety,” Captain Makin said. “Our area is slowly browning up and on a bad day a fire would push along.”

Brigade volunteers have been to NSW to support the massive campaign. First lieutenant Ian Charles has had two trips along with firefighters Gabby Denk and Glen Woods.

The nearby Whittlesea Freemason’s Lodge is also donating to the NSW fire appeal.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) CEO Adam Barnett said the brigade’s donation showed how volunteers reached out to help communities in different ways during times of crisis.

“Not only has the Flowerdale brigade sent volunteers to help on the fire ground, they have dug deep to raise money to help a fellow brigade get back on its feet,” Mr Barnett said.

“This is another example of CFA volunteers supporting communities near and far.”

Learn more about CFA’s world-respected surge capacity on the VFBV website.

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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.