Three generations of the Wright family have paid a heartbreaking – and fitting – tribute to a much-loved son.
Ray Wright set out last Monday to fight the blazes at Bunyip State Park a day after losing his son, Caroline Springs Fire Brigade First Lieutenant Michael Wright, to cancer.
Michael died on Sunday, March 3, after a two-year battle with bowel cancer.
Through their grief, Ray, grandson
Lauchlan and other family members rolled out to fight out-of-control bushfires in Michael’s honour.
“It’s what he would have wanted,” Ray said.
Michael’s passion for firefighting saw him bring his wife Julie and son Lauchlan, 19, into the firefighting fold.
Michael was last month presented with 30 Year Service and CFA life membership medals as well as a Volunteer Fire Brigade Victoria 30 Year Gold Star.
Michael underwent a first stage of treatment in 2016, but the cancer returned last year and he was hospitalised in November after his health began to deteriorate.
Lauchlan said he would follow in his brave dad’s footsteps.
“I always wanted to be like him,” he said.
“I’m sure he’d want me to be out there, alongside Pa, and hopefully he would be proud. He was always about helping others, so I just want to be like him as well.”
The Country Fire Association praised Michael’s “passion and dedicated hard work”.
“Mick was a highly respected member with an extensive history of over 30 years with both Caroline Springs and Melton Fire Brigades, the Mt Cottrell Group and District 14,” it said.
Tributes have flowed from friends, family and the Caroline Springs community.
“It was 25 years ago that we used to stuff around at school together in Melton,” a childhood friend wrote.
“I remember when you first met Julie … you were such a kind kid and grew up to be a great man.”
Another described Michael as a “genuinely kind and humble man”.