Ca­ma­raderie ap­peals

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Tara Whitsed

Tatura State Emer­gency Service unit mem­bers Kris Parker and Ash­leigh Norm­ing­ton said the most en­joy­able part of be­ing with the or­gan­i­sa­tion was the team spirit and ca­ma­raderie.

‘‘I love be­ing a part of a group of like-minded vol­un­teers who have the aim to be as good as they can be in their ef­forts to give back to their lo­cal com­mu­nity,’’ Mr Parker said.

Join­ing the Sey­mour unit in 2009, Mr Parker has spent about eight years with the service and joined the Tatura unit last year when he moved to the area.

‘‘Com­ing from a mil­i­tary back­ground, I hoped it would be sim­i­lar,’’ he said.

Mr Parker said there were in­deed fa­mil­iar­i­ties be­tween the two where he was able to con­trib­ute greatly through his mil­i­tary skills.

‘‘I have de­vel­oped a lot of tech­ni­cal res­cue skills as well as lead­er­ship and men­tor­ing skills,’’ he said.

Qual­i­fied in sev­eral ar­eas, Mr Parker said he spent three years as Sey­mour’s unit con­troller, now find­ing him­self as a gen­eral mem­ber of the Tatura unit.

Ash­leigh Norm­ing­ton also joined the team as a gen­eral mem­ber last year af­ter see­ing an ad­vert on the tele­vi­sion re­gard­ing the SES.

She said the process of join­ing the unit had been a wel­com­ing one where mem­bers were happy to ac­com­mo­date Ms Norm­ing­ton’s needs.

‘‘I have a young child and I some­times strug­gle to turn out to jobs when my part­ner is work­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘They were happy with as much or as lit­tle of my time as I could vol­un­teer; I was wel­come to join even just to at­tend train­ing at the start.’’

Ms Norm­ing­ton’s time with the unit since has in­volved­much train­ing where she has also ob­served and helped dur­ing storm dam­age call outs.

‘‘I was so ex­cited when the pager went off; I couldn’t wait to help, and I loved work­ing as a team to help the com­mu­nity,’’ she said.

Ms Norm­ing­ton said a strong de­sire to give back to the com­mu­nity was re­quired for those con­sid­er­ing join­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

‘‘There are so many dif­fer­ent roles you can choose to do: storms, road ac­ci­dents, roof tops, land searches or even ad­min­is­tra­tion; there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one,’’ she said.

Mr Parker said it was im­por­tant for mem­bers to be kind, caring, have a sense of com­mu­nity spirit and un­der­stand what it meant to be self­less.

‘‘They should look be­yond vol­un­teer­ing it­self; be­ing a mem­ber of the SES be­comes a life­style,’’ he said.

And for Mr Parker, vol­un­teer­ing for the or­gan­i­sa­tion led to a ca­sual ca­reer op­por­tu­nity he said he had only ever dreamed of.

‘‘I have been lucky enough to see my vol­un­teer ca­reer carry me to a point where I am em­ployed on a ca­sual ba­sis by a well-re­spected res­cue tool man­u­fac­turer in Hol­land to travel the world and de­liver road-res­cue train­ing to fire bri­gades, mil­i­tary and an­cil­lary res­cue squads,’’ he said.

‘‘This has been a high­light of my vol­un­teer ca­reer and I aim to do that in the fu­ture.”

The pair en­cour­aged oth­ers to join the unit.

‘‘I have met some great peo­ple and learnt a lot in my short time of be­ing within the Tatura SES,’’ Ms Norm­ing­ton said.

‘‘I feel re­ally proud when I tell peo­ple I vol­un­teer for the State Emer­gency Service.’’

There are a va­ri­ety of ways peo­ple can en­quire or join up to the service.

Any­one can at­tend the weekly unit meet­ings on Mon­day evenings from 7 pm at the unit head­quar­ters on Martin St; visit the unit’s Face­book page; email or; visit and click on the vol­un­teer tab on the left hand side of the page.

‘‘Get out there and pro­vide that in­valu­able as­sis­tance to your lo­cal com­mu­nity and give as much or as lit­tle as you can,’’ Mr Parker said.

‘‘You’ll never re­gret do­ing so.’’

Team spirit: Tatura SES unit mem­bers Kris Parker and Ash­leigh Norm­ing­ton have re­flected on their time with the service. Pic­ture: Justin Maskell

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