A TEAM EFFORT (on behalf of the families of SES volunteers)
Supporting the community is what SES members do best. They are trained for it and practice for those situations. They want to help and will be the first out there when called. They will also always be the first to say that their efforts are as part of a team and not as an individual. We, the families of SES members, are here to support them and we do this because we love and respect them.
To ‘support’ an SES member means:
- Simple things like making sure they have clean overalls;
- Harder things like saying “yes, you can go to the …… course/meeting” instead of family time, occasionally;
- and the really important things, like working out ways to help and provide for when there are big jobs (like deployments and floods) – whether it’s helping them prepare for a few days away or having a meal ready and keeping the house quiet so they can sleep when they get a break on local emergencies or, occasionally, baking for the group so there’s a snack when they get back after an activation.
As a family member, I have a great sense of my husband’s service to the community by hearing him talk about what he does in SES and I know that, by listening to him, he can ‘unload’ from the activities undertaken, especially where there has been stress (like searches for children and on those rare occasions involving death of someone close or even within the group). Being someone who knows him well I also know when he needs to not talk and can wait until he’s ready later on and can accept that sometimes he needs to talk with someone other than me (whether that’s a professional or, more often, one of his mates who was there).
There have been times over the years when his absence during a local crisis (particularly storms) has put more work on me, looking after the family and home, but none of that matters when I know that his time is used wisely and he’s out there looking after the people who are less capable (like the elderly).
Moments of great pride are also present and awards are important but they are not the motivation for what these people do. One of the special moments has included opportunities for the kids to be able to tell people (at school) about what he does with SES. We’ve even had a chance for him to visit school in that capacity, sharing his experiences and educating pre-schoolers about what the orange overalls mean. The reward from seeing the kids’ faces and how they appreciated his role in our community made me almost as excited as the kids were to see the flashing lights on the SES truck.
There are many leadership roles in SES and my husband has taken on many of these over the years. This has been great for him and I have enjoyed seeing him and his group develop in their capacity from his efforts, whatever leadership role that might have been. One of these roles is training and he has attended (and presented) on so many training topics over time and this means that I know he has very real expertise in a wide variety of areas and can be of true help to people when they need it the most. The small sacrifices for training courses matter much less when we remember the eventual outcomes and the inconvenience can almost always be worked around. Just as long as their time away from family is not wasted!
In the spirit of ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’ our children benefit significantly from him and the other strong role-models that are the people within SES. Our family are also very grateful for the many valuable and life-long friendships we have formed among this special group.
We can’t all contribute for lots of reasons. At times it’s because we have young children or elderly relatives. Other times it’s because we run businesses or simply have other commitments but, regardless of the reason, I am honoured to support him in his service. In some small way that’s how I serve.
Kate Eggar (wife of Tim Eggar, SES member since 1986)