Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Orange Heroes Hidden In The Community

Orange was seen scattered across workplaces, schools and throughout the community on Wednesday, April 17 for Wear Orange Wednesday, a day to thank SES volunteers.

SES Mackay Group Leader Jo-Ann Clout said the day is a reminder to the community that the SES is training year-round and are ready to go should a disaster strike.

“It’s just about giving the community a heads up that there are people within their workplaces or neighbourhoods who are giving up their time to help out,” she said.

“Just because we don’t walk around in our orange uniforms all the time, doesn’t mean we’re not there in the community.”

SES Mackay Group will be at the 2023 RACQ CQ Rescue Emergency Services Day, an event at which Tatiana Hogan signed up to volunteer four years ago.

“I went for a look, I knew I wanted to do some sort of volunteering, but I didn’t know what exactly,” she said.

“The SES were there, and it just stuck out to me.

“I wanted to do something where I could help the community, be a part of a team, meet some new people, learn some new skills and this was the perfect place to do so.”

Upon signing up to the SES, volunteers go through three months of probation in which they complete core subjects including workplace health and safety, code of conduct training, storm damage and rescue operation training and first aid.

“There’s a lot of life skills you can use here, out in the community and for yourself at home,” said volunteer Warren Ponmoon.

“Even if you leave, you can help yourselves when it comes to storm damage and that’s one less phone call to SES.”

“As much as we provide a service, we’re also a training organisation, and in the background, we’re training people continuously, and that’s all done by volunteers,” added fellow volunteer Peter Schmid.

Mr Schmid’s favourite part about volunteering with the SES is the camaraderie and support.

“I think anyone can succeed in the SES,” he said.

“You come to a group that has this culture already, I think we can build resilience in people.”

For volunteer of 24 years Gail Hambleton, it’s the sense of achievement and satisfaction.

“It’s also that recognition you get,” she said.

“You feel good.”

For more information about volunteering with the SES, find State Emergency Service - Mackay Regional Unit on Facebook and click Sign Up.

The group will also be at the 2023 RACQ CQ Rescue Emergency Services Day happening at Harrup Park on Sunday, May 28 from 10am to 2pm.

Warren Ponmoon, Tatiana Hogan, Jo-Ann Clout, Gail Hambleton and Peter Schmid

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