State Emergency Services controller Gary Doorbar’s long-standing service with Whittlesea SES unit has been recognised with a long-service medal.
The Whittlesea unit was also recognised for its outstanding commitment to the community.
Mr Doorbar was presented with his 10-year certificate and VICSES long service medal at the VICSES Central Region’s annual awards
Fellow Whittlesea volunteer Natasha Bradley and Adam Doorbar received their five-year certificates and pin.
Mr Doorbar is almost in his twelfth year as a SES volunteer, originally joining Broadmeadows SES in 2008 before transferring to Whittlesea SES six years ago.
“Every day with the SES has been different, you can be sitting at home and you don’t know where you’d be in an hour’s time,” Mr Doorbar said.
The volunteer said his time with the SES had been rewarding and challenging.
“It’s definitely been rewarding, hard, emotional and distressing at times, but the support is always there and I’ve worked alongside a really good bunch of people,” he said.
Over his 12-year span with the SES, Mr Doorbar has been involved in a variety of operations including assisting with the searches of Jill Meagher and Karen Ristevski – later discovered to be murdered.
He’s also helped clean up after devastating natural disasters such as the 2009 bushfires, tropical cyclones in far north Queensland, and a NSW storm in 2011.
“I’ll never forget cleaning up after a cyclone in Cairns, we were placing tarps over missing roofs,” he said.
“It was still quite windy with big roller doors flapping in the wind and banana plantations completely flattened.
“I saw a church with pews still fixed into the ground but with walls and ceiling completely gone – the pews were all that remained.”
Mr Doorbar also recalled clearing trees on Coombs Road one time during wild weather.
“We had to seek refuge in someone’s yard where no trees were – the wind was blowing so hard we didn’t want them to fall on us,” he said.
The Whittlesea SES controller said he was proud of his unit for winning the Values Award at the 2019 SES Central Region Awards.
“We’ve led by example and we have committed volunteers at our unit,” Mr Doorbar said.
The unit has recently opened its doors to any interested volunteers.
“Most people think you need particular skills to join the SES, you don’t – there’s a job for everyone at the SES,” he said.
Interested volunteers can attend a recruitment information sessions at 77 Schotters Rd, Mernda on August 26 from 7.30pm-9pm.
For more information, visit SES Whittlesea Unit’s Facebook page.