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When Lismore flooded, volunteers like Lacy answered the call for help

11 May 2022

When Lismore flooded, volunteers like Lacy answered the call for help

Record-breaking floods on Australia’s east coast in February and March left the tight-knit community of Lismore devastated and facing an enormous rebuild.

NSW SES volunteers demonstrated unprecedented courage, resilience and spirit to help their local community while many watched their own homes and businesses wash away.

Lacy Loloa is the Lismore City Unit Commander for the NSW SES, who worked tirelessly as a volunteer to protect and salvage parts of the town including her place of employment, the Lismore Workers Club on Keen Street.

Wear Orange Wednesday takes place on May 18. The annual event sees thousands across the country wear orange to say thanks to all SES volunteers just like Lacy who help our local communities when threatened by flood, storm or tsunami.

1.    What prompted you to join the NSW SES?

I was looking for a new challenge after moving from Sydney to Lismore, and in no way did I expect to be doing the things I’m doing today and supporting the local community in this way.

I joined in 2015 after seeing a post on Facebook, at that time I didn’t even know how to pick up a chainsaw let alone switch it on.

Now I can’t imagine my life without NSW SES. You feel like you’re such an integral part of Lismore and the residents recognise you and really appreciate you.
Lacy Loloa

2.    As the Unit Commander, what makes you go out in the wet and cold amidst storms and fires – leaving your loved ones to help?

No one likes leaving a dry, warm home to go out into the pouring rain. But at the end of the day, if the community needs help, we have an innate feeling that we need to be there.

As volunteers we’re obviously not doing it for money, but we do it for our community and they in turn acknowledge us for our support which means a lot. 

On Anzac Day we were a part of the march in town to pay our respects, and we got a rousing applause. It became very emotional after everything that’s occurred in the last couple of months. It’s a wonderful feeling.

3.    What would you say to someone thinking of joining the NSW SES?

Do it! You won’t regret it. You’ll learn so much in such a short space of time and surprise yourself every single time you step out in orange.

Most importantly the relationships you build will last a lifetime and we’re one big, diverse family, particularly here in Lismore. These are lifelong friendships that you just can’t make at the pub.

4.    What does Wear Orange Wednesday mean to you and your unit?

It's just nice for my team as volunteers to be recognised for something that they do off their own backs and in their own time that takes them away from their family.

The cards we get from kids and the letters of support from locals on WOW Day truly bring a smile to our face, it really makes it all worthwhile and we get a huge sense of pride.

It’s also a good opportunity to engage with our community and educate them on what the NSW SES does and the different ways that we help everyday people.

On May 18 we celebrate WOW Day. We encourage communities across Australia to wear orange and thank all NSW SES volunteers who generously give their time to help and protect us during flood and storm emergencies.

To find out more about joining the NSW SES, please follow this link.