My Dad the Firefighter
Each Australian summer brings about the very really threat of bush fire. The environment here is made for it in many ways – fire can rejuvenate many native plants and start a cycle of growth. But bush fires pose a very real threat to human life, animals, and property. Recently, I spoke about the unfathomable respect I have for the fire fighters – many of who are volunteers – battling the devastating fires that have ravaged the east-coast of the country for the past couple of months.
However, this connection is closer to my heart than many of you know. You see, my dad was in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) in Victoria for 22 years! Here is a photo of the two of us – I am just four and half years old in this pic, excited and proud to stand beside my father, knowing – even at such a young age – that the work he did was so important to the lives of Australians. Memories of him on the television when I was a child filled me with love for him – words can’t express how proud I was to see him out there fighting fires and saving lives.
My love and respect for him are even stronger today. As he has gotten older, my dad’s long history in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade has ended now, and many of his friends who worked with him have also retired from their service. However, the work they did will always be respected by the communities who suffered from fires in Victoria (and there have been so many). As well as doing such remarkable work, my dad loved his time in the brigade – he still tells me stories of how the blokes would laugh and play jokes on one another – there was a strong sense of community, comradery, one that I can only relate to my years as a chef, working with larrikins in kitchens when I was in my teens and early twenties.
It’s obvious to say that I have grown up a lot since the time this photo was taken. At age 41, I have a ever-expanding awareness of how precious this country and its people are to me. As I watch the incredible work of fire fighters and volunteers out there, day and night, saving the environment and us, I am filled with the utmost respect – thank you Dad, and all the other incredible humans out there keeping the fires at bay. All my love and respect, Ben x