UNDERVALUED: State Emergency Services volunteers Kristy Heitmann and Matthew Keeble celebrate National SES Week.
UNDERVALUED: State Emergency Services volunteers Kristy Heitmann and Matthew Keeble celebrate National SES Week. Colin Gilmore

SES week time to say thanks

WE HOPE you've been thanking our State Emergency Service volunteers during this National SES Week.

The November 5-13 recognition of the SES's contribution is annual and Gold Coast Region deputy local controller Kristy Heitmann said yesterday was Wear Orange to Work Day.

"I started as a 13-year-old cadet because I always wanted to be a police officer," Ms Heitmann said.

"I worked my way from cadet to my position now which involves supervising six groups, their leaders and members, plus all the paperwork - the fun stuff.

"I still certainly do a lot of hands-on stuff, because you can't push me away from that."

Field operator Matthew Keeble said after his 19 years in the SES he still had a more hands-on role than management.

"I'm just out there, in the field, with the team and making sure things are done correctly," Mr Keeble said.

"There are some challenges: when you're out there in the bush and looking for people it could be raining or it could be hot.

"But there's always a reward at the end of the tunnel when you accomplish what you're out there to do.

"The SES is always prepared, we've always got our equipment and we're ready to go."

Ms Heitmann said the SES could always use more support, both financial and voluntary, but "our training is nationally recognised and prepares us for the job".

Burleigh MP Christine Smith said the volunteers were both undervalued underestimated and "we just expect the orange men will come along".

"Considering it's voluntary - they have full-time jobs and still get out there and volunteer - it's incredible the work they do."



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