I’m involved in a great project about celebrating female firefighters. I’m interviewing the women and writing their stories for a booklet to be released on International Women’s Day.
In Australia, we take firefighting very seriously. Five years ago, on a day now called Black Saturday, 173 people died in Australia’s worst bushfire. Over a million acres of land was burnt; more than 2,000 homes were destroyed, and whole towns, razed to the ground. Most of the people fighting the fire that day were volunteers, as is the case in all bushfires in Australia. In the state of Victoria alone, there are 60,000 firefighting volunteers.
The women I’m interviewing are in that category. One woman, in her 70s, has been a firefighter for decades; her daughter is a firefighter and so too, her granddaughter. Another I’m interviewing is just 16 years old. They, and the people they work with, risk their lives to provide extraordinary service to others. Today’s ode is dedicated to these women, the women of the Country Fire Authority.
Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
~ Martin Luther King (American, 1929-1968)
Image: From Black Saturday; photographer: Jason South, courtesy The Age