Reg to the res­cue in Rochy for 33 years

Life mem­ber­ship for our SES stal­wart

Campaspe News - - NEWS - By CHARMAYNE AL­LI­SON

THIRTY-THREE years ago, a wind storm tore through Rochester, leav­ing dev­as­ta­tion in its path.

And 33 years ago, Reg El­lis an­swered the com­mu­nity’s call for help. He’s been help­ing ever since. The ded­i­cated VICSES vol­un­teer was re­cently hon­oured for his tire­less ser­vice, pre­sented with his life mem­ber­ship.

But look­ing back on that first day back in 1985, Reg said he didn’t even know what lay ahead.

‘‘On the Satur­day the big storm hit and I headed over to the SES, just to see if I could help,’’ he said.

‘‘And by the Mon­day, Pam (one of the orig­i­nal mem­bers) came down and signed me up.’’

Sud­denly, Reg was a part of the VICSES Rochester Unit, help­ing with ev­ery­thing from car crashes to felled trees to free­ing tiny kit­tens stuck in drains.

And mostly, he’s been in­volved in in­ci­dents with happy end­ings.

But some­times, trag­i­cally, that’s not the case.

‘‘All fa­tal­i­ties are tough,’’ he said.

‘‘But some­one’s gotta do it. Our main job is preser­va­tion of life by as­sist­ing to re­move peo­ple at an ac­ci­dent.

‘‘And I choose to fo­cus on that job, rather than any of the chaos hap­pen­ing around me.’’

Reg can still re­mem­ber one job, seared into his brain.

An ac­ci­dent had hap­pened just north of town, a two-car col­li­sion with one car bal­anc­ing on its side.

Armed with years of in­ten­sive train­ing, Reg and the team worked care­fully to cut a girl out of one of the man­gled cars.

Once the team fi­nally cut her free, they lifted her out and placed her gen­tly on a stretcher, car­ry­ing her to the am­bu­lance.

In ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain, the girl still turned her head and, look­ing straight at Reg, said two words he’ll never for­get: ‘‘thank you’’.

‘‘That’s what it’s all about,’’ he said.

Rochester unit con­troller Ju­dith Gled­hill said Reg was an in­valu­able mem­ber of the team.

‘‘Reg has at­tended hun­dreds of op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents, land searches, and storms and floods, in­clud­ing largescale events within Vic­to­ria and in­ter­state,’’ she said.

‘‘He is the self-ap­pointed man­ager of all small mo­tors within the unit, keep­ing chain­saws sharp, ser­viced and ready for use when the need arises.

‘‘He has al­ways been our go-to fix-it or make-it man, whether it be mi­nor items re­quir­ing main­te­nance or if we need a gad­get to make a task sim­pler.

‘‘Af­ter the 2010/11 floods, Reg cre­ated a sand­bag filler out of a traf­fic cone that we still use to this very day.’’

Reg, to­gether with Rochester’s other life mem­bers Ken Ma­jor, June Ma­jor and Glenn Ma­jor, have given a stag­ger­ing com­bined to­tal of 135 years’ ser­vice to VICSES and the com­mu­nity of Rochester.

Even 33 years down the track, it’s clear Reg still has a deep love for the SES.

A love he hopes to pass on to oth­ers in the com­mu­nity.

‘‘This is a re­ally friendly unit, we all work to­gether, ev­ery­one looks af­ter each other,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve also re­ceived quite a num­ber of unit achieve­ment awards. When some­thing hap­pens here, all mem­bers who are avail­able turn up.

‘‘The town should be hon­oured to have a unit of­fer­ing as high qual­ity a ser­vice as this one.’’

But he said the unit was al­ways look­ing for new mem­bers. Such as you. ‘‘Any­one who is fit enough can be in the SES,’’ he said.

If you’d like to join, call Ju­dith Gled­hill on 0429 845 573.

‘ I choose to fo­cus on that job, rather than any of the chaos hap­pen­ing around me ’ — Reg El­lis

Reg El­lis with his SES life mem­ber­ship.

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