He is not the CFA volunteer you will see in yellow, or saving people from their burning home, but Rob’s contribution to Caroline Springs Fire Brigade counts.
Rob is the CFA volunteer behind the scenes but his efforts are front and centre to ensuring the brigade runs smoothly and successfully.
He is a leader, a mentor, a fundraiser, a trainer, an organiser and is happy to lend a hand wherever he’s needed.
“Or a wise old man as some would say,” Rob joked.
“I’m currently the brigade’s Occupational Health and Safety rep and am also involved with the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria district council.
“I’m not really operational but I’m still active because when I retired in 2001, I didn’t want to just sit around and do nothing.”
Rob said the “mateship” he has discovered from volunteering with CFA has also opened new doors in his life.
“I seemed to be the person who a lot of people within the brigade would feel comfortable in coming to with issues or for advice,” he said.
“I think it was because of this that my Operations Officer suggested I get involved with CFA’s Peer Support Program.
“I’m currently doing the training for Peer Support and it’s a side to volunteering that I’m really enjoying – it’s an important program for CFA and I think it works well because of those relationships you develop from being involved.”
Beyond firefighting, Rob said the networks you develop within CFA delve much deeper.
Last March, Rob was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 10 years.
“Both last time and this time I have found the most important thing is to raise awareness about prostate cancer and the importance of critical testing,” Rob said.
“That is something I have been able to do within CFA – it’s about spreading the message and hopefully helping someone along the way.”
Following his treatment, Rob said he would now continue his work in peer support as well as training for current and new members.
“I’m involved a lot in brigade training and recruitment of new volunteers,” Rob said.
“Caroline Springs is an integrated station but I think it works really well. We know we all need each other – volunteers are vital to CFA and the career firefighters are so valuable to us.”
After a 50-year career in management, Rob said he joined CFA as a way to give back to the community.
“I’ve never been an officer and I’m happy to take a back seat. I figured it was time to take orders, not give orders,” Rob said.
And his advice to anyone considering volunteering with CFA.
“I would definitely recommend it. The mateship is brilliant and it amplifies when you’ve got a job going on,” he said.
“There is so much reward in working in the community through a number of events and fundraisers, including the Good Friday Appeal.
“And the opportunity it gives the younger volunteers to really mature and develop as people is just great.”