Volunteerism is often the backbone of local communities right across Australia, according to Sedgwick Fire Brigade Captain Brendan Drechsler.
National Volunteer Week kicks off today, Monday 18 May, and runs through to Sunday 24 May, which marks the annual celebration of the generous contribution of Australia’s volunteers, including the amazing work by CFA volunteers across Victoria.
Brendan has spent 48 years generously volunteering his time to the Sedgwick Fire Brigade to “give back to the community”.
“I first got involved with the brigade because my father was a Captain and I took the tradition on,” Brendan said.
“I do it for the love of the community. CFA is a big family and I’ve always chosen to be a part of it for the betterment of the local community.”
During the latest bushfire season, Brendan faced the challenge of organising members of the Sedgwick Fire Brigade to be deployed in composite Strike Teams for the Eppalock Group to assist in both the NSW and Victorian bushfires.
“I made the decision to remain home in Sedgwick in case a fire was to start in our area,” he said.
“I organised a number of our Strike Teams to be deployed to Bateman’s Bay and Mallacoota at different times over the fire season.
“It was an urgent and elaborate situation we were facing, but we had to remain mindful that we had resources available locally to take care of any potential incidents.”
During his time as a CFA member, Brendan has put his hand up for a number of roles, including coach, chairman and organiser of firefighting championship events.
“Sedgwick didn’t have a running team until 2013 and once we formed a team, which I had the pleasure of coaching, within three years we had won the State Championship and have won titles every year since,” he said.
“I’ve watched the team I coached in 2013 grow up to be senior members of the fire brigade and they’ve experienced the same amount of success in the State Firefighting Championships as they did as juniors.”
Brendan also took on the role as Chairman of the State Firefighting Championships Committee in 2019 when the event was held in Bendigo and volunteered his time to coach the Victorian running team at the national championships in 2017.
“Giving our time is our way of thanking our community,” Brendan said.
“Many members of our brigade have carried on the generational tradition of volunteering for the local fire brigade, including myself, and it’s so rewarding to see everyone rally together during tough times. It’s what holds our community together.”