Breakfast for Firefighters at Romsey VIC Tuesday 11/2/14
Tuesday morning 11/2/14 for the Sunbury RRT was to be a trip to Craigieburn CFA station, no equipment or supplies required. Just assist with preparation and serving of food plus the usual clean up chores……… however word passed around later Monday evening that the venue had changed to Romsey and would be a full on catering set-up. By 3 A.M. Tuesday morning most gear and supplies had been acquired and packed ready to go. The venue at Romsey was the local Cricket/Football Club rooms, quite new and a credit to the town.
The president of the cricket club offered us use of all facilities including the boardroom. We found the local Lions Club already set up for catering. These mostly older people had done sterling service through the night feeding many weary fire crews. Setting up of barbeques, tables etc happened quickly thanks to the energy of the younger generation. The first crews arrived just before 7A.M. and food was coming off the barbecues at the same time. The number of arrivals soon swelled and meals were keeping pace. The Lions Club and other local volunteer women kept the well appointed kitchen running with provision of hot drinks and snacks and some excellent fruit platters. It was noted that 2 coaches of relief crews arrived simultaneously, though not as hungry, they were grateful and impressed by the set up and availability of good food.
By observation and questioning the median age of these fire crews would appear to be in the mid to late forties, with quite a number noticeably older. A significant number of women, some quite young were in the ranks and despite the apparent weariness all were happy to say that they were “ just doing their job”. It is humbling to note that this dedicated band of volunteers, the CFA have an excellent organisational group directing their movements some of whom we met and on enquiring whether they had eaten, the reply was simply, “no, I must look after my men first” The diversity of fire crews coming from locations across Victoria , to name a few.. Mosquito Creek, Boort, Axe Creek, Rheola, and many more mostly we would not know where these places are, let alone know that the individuals that make up the fire crews have stepped off the tractor or dropped the fencing tools or walked out of the Bendigo Bank or jumped out of the delivery truck and left wives and children at home while they don their uniforms and proceed to drive many miles at night to join with other units to protect communities a long way from home. 12 to 15 hour shifts were noted. This is indeed a selfless and too often unspoken service. It was very interesting to hear voluntary comments from quite a number of fire fighters who had spent time in Lithgow and had been cared for by RRT. These crews are worthy of all the support that RRT and other groups can provide.
The weather conditions were great for catering and the already mentioned facilities made it possible for the RRT to cater for approximately 300 emergency personnel, many of whom expressed their gratitude for the service rendered by RRT, including a young woman who was chuffed to find that gluten free food was available! By 11am everything was packed up and ready to leave.
Again, many thanks to the Romsey Community for the excellent facilities which allowed the 0peration to proceed so smoothly.