Ian Carlson at the SES offices, Tweed Heads.
Ian Carlson at the SES offices, Tweed Heads. John Gass

Ian battles any disaster

TRAGEDIES have always hit home hard for former State Emergency Services head controller for Tweed Heads Ian Carlson, but nothing has been so personal until cancer interfered with his physical well-being.

Mr Carlson stood down from his job as head controller into the less physically-demanding job of deputy local controller for Tweed since March 12, as the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma took a toll on him.

Mr Carlson said he started out in a country unit where he was responsible for building accommodation before working as controller in Tweed Heads for seven years.

"We've been able to grow the unit from 30 members to about 100," said Mr Carlson.

"I keep telling people [we grew in numbers because of] my good looks, but they keep laughing," he said.

Mr Carlson instilled an understanding among volunteers that they are not only looking after Tweed Heads, but also helping out other communities.

"It has been a combination of getting out of the community and helping out - and strangely enough natural disasters help," he said.

The increase of numbers has meant Tweed SES has been able to send people to other areas in NSW.

Tweed Heads local controller Brian Sheahan said Mr Carlson made remarkable achievements in his unit.

"He increased the numbers in the unit up to 40% and has been instrumental in gaining increases of more operating space to his headquarters in Banora Point," Mr Sheahan said.

"He also successfully negotiated with the local council to further increase the size of that unit to be well equipped when this area suffers major disasters."

Mr Carlson said he now spent his time planning, using the internet, going to meetings and keeping himself mentally positive.



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