SES loy­alty re­warded

Gatton Star - - Life -

THE only thing An­nette Fi­foot re­grets about join­ing the Gat­ton SES group is she didn’t do it ear­lier.

Mrs Fi­foot started vol­un­teer­ing 15 years ago af­ter en­ter­tain­ing thoughts of com­mit­ting to the role for years.

Fam­ily obli­ga­tions made that im­pos­si­ble, but when she fi­nally got the chance to put on the orange high-vis uni­form, the 76-year-old knew she had found an­other fam­ily.

“I’ve al­ways liked the idea of get­ting out and search­ing for peo­ple,” Mrs Fi­foot said. “I love the bush so that was my first fo­cus when I joined, but there’s so much more to the SES than just that.”

From div­ing down wells and res­cu­ing lost dogs to search­ing for clues to lo­cate miss­ing teenagers, Mrs Fi­foot is proof you’re never too old to vol­un­teer.

She has held var­i­ous po­si­tions in­clud­ing Gat­ton group leader and search co-or­di­na­tor, but has moved back to an ad­min­is­tra­tive and lo­gis­tics role in re­cent years to make way for younger mem­bers.

From the first time she was low­ered into a dark pit to res­cue a lost dog and help out a fam­ily, Mrs Fi­foot knew she had found a role that ful­filled her de­sire to give back to her com­mu­nity.

“Even though I’ve handed over the group leader job, the group leader still needs a lot of sup­port,” she said.

Mrs Fi­foot counts the search for mur­dered Gat­ton teenager Jayde Ken­dall, the 2011 and 2013 floods and se­vere storm sea­sons as the most mem­o­rable – and at times dif­fi­cult – ac­ti­va­tions over the past 15 years.

Mrs Fi­foot re­ceived her 15-year SES Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Medal last week.

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