Buninyong CFA volunteer Ed Bradford has thanked the Ballarat community for helping him get back on his feet after his car was stolen last month.
Mr Bradford's Hyundai hatchback was stolen from outside the Buninyong Fire Station towards the end of January after thieves broke into the station while firefighters were responding to a five-hour job.
The car was later found in burned out in Bacchus Marsh the following morning.
The theft left Mr Bradford at least $5000 out of pocket after the insurance payout and without a means of travel and unable to turnout for CFA jobs when required.
It cut especially deep as the COVID-19 pandemic had already left the personal travel manager without income.
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Mr Bradford's gym, F45 Ballarat, came to his aid earlier this month and started a fundraising campaign to pay the difference and help him get back on his feet.
After the campaign was able to raise about $5300, Mr Bradford was able to pick up his new car on Tuesday and thanked the community for getting behind him.
"It's great, it's just nice to be on my own wheels rather than the hire car and knowing that it's ours. I've got a bit of freedom and the ability to turn out now, so that's helpful," he said.
"I think the hardest part was accepting the fact that the community wanted to step in and help.
"For me, I like to stand on my own two feet, so when Leigh from F45 put up the GoFundMe page, I was slightly taken aback and thought it was nice there is that community support."
F45 Ballarat owner Leigh Brady said the gym was 'stoked' to help Mr Bradford.
"It obviously went a long way to help and I think from the loss that he had with the insurance was made up with the generosity of our members and the public," he said.
"Down at our gym, we always use the motto 'we're more than just a gym' and try to focus on the community aspect of it," he said.
"There were people that wouldn't have done a class here that got behind him and if they were in the same situation, we'd do the same for them."
Mr Bradford has even received two new car seats to go with the car after his mother's friend Coral wanted to 'renew his faith in the community'.
Mr Bradford said his faith in the community was renewed with all the support he had received.
"The guys that stole my car and burned it, I've got no words for them, I really don't," he said.
"You broke into a volunteer fire station and stole a volunteer's car. It's not like it was parked at the front of my house, you broke in and got the keys from a volunteer fire station, that's the degenerates in society at the moment so it's nice to have that uplifting spirit.
"Thanks to everyone that chipped in. My local brigade the Buninyong-Mount Helen CFA was a big help, very supportive, and the guys at F45 were just amazing, to the point where they said, 'if you need to come to an afternoon class, give us a call we'll drive out to Buninyong and come pick you up'.
"Random strangers who I probably worked out with in the gym but not really had that conversation with said, 'if you need a car you can borrow mine', that sort of generosity blew me away."
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