Volunteers honoured for long service
A host of long-serving emergency services volunteers in the City of Karratha have been recognised for their efforts, at two awards ceremonies at the weekend.
Emergency Service Volunteer Recognition awards were handed out to 12 volunteers at the Karratha Leisureplex and Port Walcott Marine Rescue.
The past year has proven more than ever the need for all four volunteer areas — ambulance, fire, marine and search and rescue.
SES and marine rescue operations were pushed to the limits for days during the search for the illfated prawn trawler the Returner.
Dozens of firefighters from across the Pilbara put their hands up to join crews down south battling the devastating Harvey-Waroona bushfire.
Closer to home, a blaze on the Karratha hills came a little too close for comfort and could have caused more damage had it not been for the work of volunteers.
And the day-in, day-out services of St John Ambulance volunteers have been widely commended for their fast response times across a wide range of incidents in the past year.
At the Leisureplex on Friday night, SES vollie Damien Muller was honoured for 20 years of service, joining his wife as an old salt of the Karratha SES team.
“I was originally attracted to it by my wife, Jo, who was already in it; she has outdone me by a couple of years,” he said.
“She was heading off to go to cyclone Olivia in Pannawonica and I was able to get some time off work to help out.
“I was originally only going to go for the weekend but I’m still there now.”
The following night Wickham-Roebourne St John Ambulance volunteer Glen Saunders received equal praise for his 20 years service.
Mr Saunders was also congratulated on his recent acceptance into the Order of St John. “It’s an honour,” he said. Mr Saunders said service to community had kept him going for 20 years having originally been inspired to sign up by his parents.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the City of Karratha had a heavy reliance on local volunteer crews.
“Because we’re so isolated we can’t just go over to the next suburb and ask for help so we really do depend on these volunteers,” he said. “If it wasn’t for volunteers and these services we actually couldn’t operate.”
Mr Long said the awards nights were a token of appreciation for the efforts of volunteers across the city. “Some people are working 300 hours a year volunteering which is amazing,” he said.
“We just want to let people know how much we appreciate them.
“It is really worthwhile not only for the community, but also for yourself.”
Mr Muller said volunteering was a rewarding experience, not just in service to community but also in working with a team and making new friends. “There have been a whole heap of experiences, some not necessarily nice which is just the nature of what we do, but I think it has helped to grow me into who I am today,” he said.
Mr Muller said anyone considering volunteering would have no regrets.
Award recipients at the Karratha Leisureplex on Friday night.
Councillor Geoff Harris with awards recipients at the Port Walcott Marine Rescue facility.
SES volunteer Damien Muller and City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long.
David Howell and Peter Long.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long and volunteer firie Eddie Morgan.
Daryl Johnson with his five-year service award, and Geoff Harris.
Joshua McKenzie and Geoff Harris.
Debra Potten and Geoff Harris.
Mayor Peter Long and Belinda Lawrence.
Jessica Gregory with her five-year service award.
Glen Saunders and WickhamRoebourne St John Ambulance community paramedic Paul Willett.