Filipino community revives ailing brigade

Filipino community revives ailing brigade

On 1 October 2016, Samson Bucol and his family, who had recently emigrated from the Philippines, witnessed rising floodwaters inundate Port Wakefield.

I had only been in South Australia for a little while and we saw the CFS moving around everywhere and helping people and I thought, ‘How can I join them?’ But I was too shy to ask at the time.

Fast forward a few years and the Port Wakefield CFS brigade was experiencing tough times. Numbers were dwindling and captain Warren Miller needed to find a new strategy to recruit and retain volunteers.

“I had asked everyone at the pub, the footy club, the RSL… I didn’t know what else to do. So, I asked the local postie, ‘Can you help me distribute flyers through town?’ And thankfully, she was only too happy to help,” Warren said.

He then played the waiting game until finally, one man answered the call, Samson Bucol.

“When I get the letter, I said woo! This is a really good opportunity, but I’m still a little unsure however my wife said, ‘Just try it! You’ve been wondering for how many years about joining?’” Samson said.

Warren and the team worked hard to ensure Samson felt included and developed skills and confidence through structured training and support.

Soon enough, more and more of Samson’s friends, family and members of the Filipino community came forward and signed up.

“Now our brigade is almost at capacity, and nearly 30% of our active members are Filipino and a further 50% make up our cadetships. We also have a really high female representation for the first time in Port Wakefield too.

“It’s really enriching for us to get to know about their culture and I’ve even learnt a few Filipino words like Salamat (thank you) to show that I stand by them and I’m not just a captain telling them what to do,” he said.

“We often catch up outside of work for beers and barbecues. It has really been fantastic- and hopefully they feel integrated in our community too,” Warren said.

If you or someone you know would like to make a difference in your community you can join the CFS.

1 February 2024