EMERGENCY service workers across the state have been recognised for their efforts through Meritorious Australia Day Honours, including Mernda man Gary Doorbar and Seymour police officer Darren Gleeson.
Mr Doorbar has served the community through his work with the Victorian State Emergency Service Whittlesea Unit, and surrounding units, for more than 10 years.
A leader of the Whittlesea Unit, Mr Doorbar has always prioritised his volunteer work and ensured his team was ready to respond to emergencies any time of day or night.
Mr Doorbar was a key component of the growth of his team, which started at 10 members and now includes more than 90 volunteers.
The VICSES member said he was humbled to be awarded the Emergency Services Medal, which he was first told about in October last year.
“It was a hard kept secret, but I was humbled and proud to win it. It’s awarded to one person, but there are a lot of people behind the scenes: family, friends, employers and other SES members,” he said.
Mr Doorbar said a highlight of his work with VICSES was the search for missing boy William Callaghan in the Mount Disappointment State Forest last year.
“Recently, a big highlight was finding Will Callaghan. Our unit was in control of the search and I was the commander on the second day,” he said.
“Not all days are like that, the most difficult things are when children are involved – a year or so ago a four-year-old in Epping was run over.
“Now, with social media, it means family and friends are on scene pretty quickly.”
Mr Doorbar is known for his commitment to assisting his community and showing a passion that is well respected, sacrificing his time and going above and beyond what is expected of a volunteer.
“I am pretty calm and collected most of the time, and a good problem-solver. Things are different every time we do it, one minute we’re at a crime scene, then we’re dealing with a search, a storm or a flood.
“I could be sitting at home ready for dinner and then out looking for someone that night.”
The Australian Police Medal was awarded to Detective Leading Senior Constable Darren Gleeson, who joined the force in 1980 and has continued to serve the community for 40 years.
Det Leading Sen Const Gleeson started work in Seymour in 1989, and after spending some time working at several Melbourne police stations, he moved to Alexandra in the Criminal Investigations Branch in 2000.
In 2010, he took up a permanent position at the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigations Team at Seymour, where he continues to raise the bar for specialist investigations themed around sexual assaults of adults and children, with a strong focus on victim management and commitment. The police officer has spent 34 of his service years as detective and 31 years servicing Mitchell, Mansfield, Strathbogie and Murrindindi regions, maintaining a focus on serious criminal investigations.