From severe storm damage, land searches, rescuing beloved pets and looking for missing vessels in the middle of the Indian Ocean… Todd Pender has seen it all during his time in the State Emergency Services.
Mr Pender joined Armadale SES in 1992 and has since volunteered at other units including Merredin and Esperance.
He was one of several volunteers to be recognised for their efforts at a ceremony earlier this month with five, 10, 15, 25 and 30-year service medals distributed to the devoted volunteers.
Mr Pender said his involvement is an opportunity to give back to the community.
“From rescuing cats for appreciative owners to spending six-plus hours doing the best to fix someone’s roof and locating missing people and reuniting them with family,” he said.
“To be appointed and lead a team that recovered the first and only deceased SES member on active service during an operation in 2004 was a moment that will stay with me for a while and I am grateful to the team asked to complete that task that day.”
Mr Pender said he has learnt plenty during his time with the Armadale unit, including map reading, first aid and casualty handling, and encourages others to consider offering a helping hand.
“Australia is known for its volunteering spirit and helping each other out but it’s becoming harder to get volunteers as populations become more transient and there are more options available for people including distractions like social media,” he said.
“Look at the effort from volunteer firefighters at the moment and support from employers is crucial.”
Among those to be recognised was local manager Connie Eikelboom who received her 30-year Service Award for her dedication to the Armadale unit.
Armadale SES welcome volunteers from all walks of life in a number of roles.
New members must be able to work in a team and be available for training on Wednesdays from 7.30pm to 10pm.
For more information call 9497 1266 or email email@example.com.