Chung joined Springvale Fire Brigade as a volunteer nine years ago at the age of 17. Now, 26 years old, Chung is the 3rd Lieutenant of the brigade.
Chung was born in Malaysia but grew up in the Springvale area where being from a culturally diverse background is a distinct advantage.
“Culture is definitely a very important facet of the Springvale Brigade given the large population of migrants living in the area,” he said.
“I’ve worked on trying to engage our migrant community through the brigade’s participation in events such as the Chinese New Year festivals and the Burmese community barbeque.
“I’ve also tried to attract those from non-English speaking backgrounds to attend the Springvale Open Day.”
Chung works full-time as a telecommunications analyst but also manages to commit up to 20 hours per week and around 100 call-outs per year to CFA.
“I like a bit of hard work, getting out and meeting the community and of course, helping save lives,” Mr Wai said.
“I’ve also made many friends within the brigade and enjoy being part of a team.”
Chung frequently goes over and above his call of duty as a CFA volunteer. On his 26th birthday last month, he ran 12 laps in the 24 hour relay for the Good Friday Appeal and barely got a chance to get home for a rest before attending the Dingley Village Fair, also to represent CFA.
“I don’t ever complain about dedicating time to CFA because I take such pride in what I do,” he said.
“Some nights I’ve spent the entire night out at a CFA job and gone straight to work the next day but I’ve never told my work I’m a CFA member.
“I don’t want them to feel sorry for me or give me any exemptions at work. I choose to spend my spare time serving the community.”
Chung has interest in one day becoming a career firefighter but wants to wait a few more years.
“Being a career firefighter is a 30-year career. I want to travel first and do the things people do in their 20s! It’s something I definitely want to do in my 30s,” he said.
As part of his commitment to being 3rd Lieutenant of the brigade, Chung is in charge of community safety events for the area. He was involved in organising Springvale’s Open Day on 1 April, Chinese New Year festivities and many other events.
However, Chung’s commitment to volunteering extends beyond CFA. For many years he volunteered with an organisation called “People Outdoors” which provides recreational activities to people with disabilities.
For the last three years he’s also competed in the Relay for Life to raise money for the Cancer Council and the Melbourne Marathon to raise money for Cerebral Palsy and people who suffer from Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
Chung also helped run a training program at Springvale brigade called “Fire Fit”.
“Springvale is right up there with being one of the fittest brigades in Victoria,” he said.
“I love being fit and active. I enjoy running, swimming, gym training and cycling. Cycling is a great way to take in Melbourne!”
Chung has a high level of respect for his CFA leaders and he’s looking forward to continuing his journey with the organisation for many years.
By Amy Schildberger