Award recognises decades of service
■ A couple of long-term State Emergency Service volunteers from Karratha have been recognised for their combined 40 years of service.
Kath Swetman was awarded a national service medal for her 15 years, and Bob Hunter got a clasp signifying 10 years since receiving his own national medal. The pair were recognised at the Karratha emergency service annual awards at the RSL last month.
Mrs Swetman has been a member of the SES since 1998, is a qualified team leader for road crash rescues and has been a rescue officer.
She said she originally joined because her husband Terry had started volunteering at the unit and was “having too much fun”.
“The reason I’ve stayed in it so long is because of all the good outcomes we’ve had, we’ve had more good than bad,” Mrs Swetman said.
“It’s a good feeling when you know you can help someone and get a good outcome.”
One instance that stood out to Mrs Swetman was a crash where a mother was distressed as to what was happening to her son who was still trapped in the car.
Mrs Swetman consoled the woman letting her know he only had a broken leg and would be freed and put in an ambulance soon.
“The guy that was in the car ended up joining the SES a few years after,” Mrs Swetman said.
Mr Hunter has been with Karratha SES since 1988 as an active general member.
He has been a rescue officer, training manager, and has been a successful volunteer trainer at the unit teaching vertical rescue, storm damage, and emergency response driving.
Mrs Swetman said Mr Hunter was quiet and community-orientated and always took the young SES members under his arm to teach them a few old tricks.
Both volunteers received their medals surrounded by their peers, represented by the Karratha SES, Dampier Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, Karratha VFRS, the Department of Fire and Emergency Service and the Karratha Police.
Kath and Terry Swetman.