FIREYS POEM: ‘What the hell are we fighting for?’
TOOGOOM rural firefighter Peter Byster wrote this poem after a long shift fighting the Kilkivan bushfire in Black Snake earlier this week.
The calls are sent, the week looks bad, crews answer the muster and change, say goodbye to families and loved ones.
Head out to tackle the flames, along fence-lines in far-flung corners, up on hills, and along dusty tracks, in the smoke they all stand together, working side-by-side, back to back.
And the monster comes, creeping or roaring, conditions dictating the stance, sometimes the effort and water are winning, sometimes you cannot hold back the advance, and in the gaps, you find out why you're fighting.
The truth reaches out like a light, it strengthens your sinew and purpose, and gives you the reason to fight, it's the story you hear from the owner.
When he's thankful that help has arrived, with tears in his eyes for the cattle, and a life that he's valued and prized Where his time is measured in decades, sometimes six generations or more.
It's a privilege just to be with him.
That's a battle that's worth fighting for, it's that car full of family that passes, their arms out the window to wave, as in convoy the trucks are all running, to the second or third fire for the day.
It's the kids who come up at the servo, to take a quick look at the trucks, "whack on this helmet, we've got time for a selfie", then with a smile and a wave, wish you luck.
The folks that answer that call-up, are not in it for glory or gain, they get stretched and come back exhausted, and then go back and do it again.
And the badge says "Emergency Services", but they know that it's much more than that, they're standing in for that bloke and those children.
All the people out waving their hats, yes, it means there's some obligation, some care, and taking some risks, but the pride in standing together, is an honour that's not to be missed.
So cheer on those trucks and the people, and know that they represent you.
When we all stand together united, there isn't a thing we can't do.
We're fighting this monster together, and we're not going to win it alone.
Why the hell are we fighting? Cause our greatest love's waiting at home.