Australians are always quick to offer help.
Mateship, lending a hand, the spirit of help. We support each other, no matter what.
For some Australians, the call to help is so strong that they sacrifice their time for their community by volunteering. Luke, a longtime SES volunteer, is one such Australian.
Finding Something Empowering
For 17 years Luke has volunteered with the SES. He felt trapped by a job that kept him bound to a desk, he longed to do something hands on, something with meaning. He wanted a chance to help.Volunteering with the SES meant that Luke was able to do something in the real world, make real change in his community, give back to the people he cared so much about. Feeling like he was finally able to make a real difference in other people's lives was rewarding and empowering, and Luke hasn’t stopped volunteering since. Even in everyday emergencies, Luke is ready to step in. When he saw someone take a fall at a train station, he leapt into action with the confidence his SES experience has granted him.
A Family Affair
Volunteering with the SES while juggling work and family commitments isn’t easy. With several high pressure jobs on his plate and a new baby at home, being able to find time to volunteer is challenging. But Luke embraces that challenge, determined to give whatever he can wherever he can. “You make your time where you need to, for whoever needs you the most at that moment.” While finding time to volunteer is a daily struggle, Luke and his young family are proud of the work he does for his community. “I’m a better employee, friend, family member and father because of my volunteer work.”
A Stitch in Time
Something Luke has learned in his time with the SES is preparedness. Having an awareness of risk, preparing himself and his family, and knowing what to do and where to go; is invaluable in an emergency situation. Even after 17 years on the job the amount of damage that storms can cause is confronting and difficult to get used to. “The amount of damage that can occur just through not doing simple things around the house is huge. A little investment in time can save you a lot of heartache.”
The Calm in a Storm
Through his involvement with the SES Luke has developed the ability to handle himself and the teams he works with in emergency situations. He is confident, experienced, and assured even in the face of difficulty. “Feeling that you can actually do something, feeling comfortable, confident and practised in doing something, is a skill I have used extensively.” When he was sent to Queensland following cyclones and floods, Luke felt confronted, even distressed, by the devastated community he saw. Hills were stripped bare, signs were torn from the ground and houses had rolled down streets. In the face of these harrowing, overwhelming scenes, Luke and his fellow SES volunteers didn’t hesitate to help. They saw a community in need and lent a hand. “You could see the relief, the tension relax, when the community saw this orange army turning up to carry the load when they needed us.”
Contact your state’s SES to see how you too can make a difference.