Here’s something that hit me today as we sat among crates of water bottles and groceries at the Chinderah NSW Fire Relief donation centre… despite the disturbing images, my heart isn’t brave or wide enough to imagine such loss: our people, our wildlife, our precious spaces. I’m left standing in the face of my own powerlessness and I hate it.
This is Bruce, a GC firefighter for the past 32 years. We asked him for his thoughts. He shared…
“It’s tough right now. These fires are bad and the public is able to see it all. I know the power of this level of fire, however, for most, it can be incredibly confronting to see. We are so humbled by the volunteers in the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS). They are carrying the majority of this. We work full time and always participate when called but these guys… they take time away from work, away from families. They risk their lives to do what we do and save rural areas. So much respect! I’ve seen hundreds of fires yet there are times I still get anxious. It’s concerning when you really don’t know what you’re in for.
There are times I’ve been surrounded and of course, you wonder about the roof caving in, however you learn to trust your calculated decisions and your fellow firefighters. We are like a family, Teamwork is everything. I just think deep down everyone wants to help other people. It’s in everyone. I mean look what’s happening now. We’re certainly feeling appreciated… people stop us with words of praise and have even applauded. We don’t deserve that, as everyone would help if given the chance. Sometimes it takes catastrophes for governments to make positive changes for the future but we will recover. We will. This is devastating, no doubt about it and we’ll learn a lot of lessons but together. We’ll recover”.
Amid the public debate, I have a feeling the scars will be our compass on this one, and the wounds, secret agents of healing. The invitation to address concerns is inescapable. Accepting that invitation with grace and unity… therein lies our power. Home is ours ?. The choice is fluid. I choose to reach into the dark and poke a hole in the chaos. I pray the glow sheds light and clarity for this big-hearted country of ours.