One local couple and State and Emergency Service volunteers have received their National Service Medal recognising their diligent commitment to helping the community throughout their 15 years of service.
The medal, established in 1975, is awarded to members of government and voluntary organisations that risk their lives or safety to protect or assist the community in enforcement of the law, or in times of emergency or a natural disaster.
Collie SES store person Peter Miles and deputy local manager Ellen Miles said they were both pleased to have been awarded the medal.
“We weren’t expecting it, but we are incredibly proud,” the couple said.
Joining well over a decade ago they said they joined to help out their local community.
“I used to live in Perth and then I got married to Peter and moved down to Collie. Peter was already a member and I would often go to Wellington Dam or Potters Gorge for regional exercise where I helped for a bit and that’s when I decided to join,” Mrs Miles said.
Collie SES has a total of 17 volunteers who are there to help.
“We search for people when they go missing, we do storm damage control like putting tarps over roofs and cutting trees down when they fall on the roofs of houses or across roads,” Mr Miles said.
“A lot of the people that we help out are very grateful, especially with storms and flooding. With the last lot of floods we helped a lot of shop owners and elderly out with their homes.”
He said that to do the work you need to be passionate.
“You’ve got to want to be a volunteer and have a want to help out the community, but also to be able to do the work we do you need to be a team member,” Mr Miles said.
Collie SES local manager Monika Nicholson said they need more volunteers to be able to continue the work they do.
“In the city where they have a huge amount of members, up to 60 – 70, a person can choose what field they wish to specialise in. Where in country towns we are limited to the amount of members we have so they learn the lot. Our volunteers are a jack of all trades,” she said.
“All the training for members is provided and there is a huge amount of training that we do.
“You learn how to speak on the radio when there’s an emergency, you learn on and off road driving, we have a flood boat course, storm damage courses like roof safety, the other skills you can learn are how to manage and operate an emergency operations room, chainsaws, basic general rescue and many more. Once you’ve qualified in a particular field you can then become a trainer and an assessor.”
To join the Collie SES, or for more information, you can contact local manager Monika Nicholson on 0437903265.