‘Helping people in worst moments’ inspires new firefighter
Being able to help people when they are in their darkest moments and most troubled times drove Samantha Birkwood to joining the Alstonville Fire Station crew.
Arriving in the Alstonville area two years ago, Samantha was confronted with a community that had just suffered through one of the worst bushfire seasons on record.
"I arrived and the fires happened so I was looking at ways I could assist and help and I had a bit of spare time …(the role) sounded like something I want to get involved in," she said.
In a previous life, Samantha served in the army as part of the signals team, which provided her some transferable skills to her role as an on-call firefighter.
"When I left school I joined the army … and went to signals core and finished up as a captain and travelled all around Australia doing that and went to Bougainville which is in Papa New Guinea … I've always had a strong background in leadership," she said.
"Anyone that joins the fireys, you have a deep down desire to help people and I quite like that, often you're meeting people on their worst day and helping to improve that."
Helping her husband run their local plant nursery business as well as bringing up three kids, Samantha said it helped that the Alstonville station was so flexible.
"It gives me goosebumps … being able to help people in some of their worst moments, there is a lot that happens behind the scenes that people don't see," she said.
"If my husband has to leave and no one is at home, we have to co-ordinate where the kids are but it is great having that flexibility … and having a good team here (helps)."