SES loyalty rewarded
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.