VOLUNTEERING with the SES has continued through three generations of a northern suburbs family.
Jim MacLean (67) joined what was the Perth unit on New Year’s Day in 1982 because he felt he needed something challenging to do and put his hand up to help.
His son David (43) joined the SES in 1991 when he was 16 and three years ago his grandson Andrew (21) became an SES volunteer as well.
The younger two men live in Clarkson and both volunteer with the Wanneroo-Joondalup SES unit.
Originally from Scotland, Jim said being a volunteer was a good way to give back to the country that “adopted” him.
The unit later became the Northshore SES and the Ocean Reef resident has remained a volunteer with it, helping in storms, searches and other emergency incidents across Perth, WA and interstate.
“We are now far better equipped and trained than we were when I joined,” he said. Jim received the emergency services medal in the 2016 Queens Birthday Honours and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services 35-year service medal earlier this year.
The retiree said helping people made him feel good and gave him the opportunity to give back to the community.
“You feel so good when you go and put a tarpaulin on somebody’s house to stop the rain getting in and they are so grateful,” he said.
“It used to be that I was out on every call-out – now I’ve found my niche in training.
“I’m nearly 68 – I don’t do an awful lot of call-outs or an awful lot of climbing on roofs.
“I teach more than I do anything else at the moment.”
David said becoming an SES volunteer was a way of contributing to society and at first he attended community events before responding to calls to repair damage in winter storms.
He transferred to the Wanneroo-Joondalup unit in 1997 and attended the floods in Moora in 1999 and 2000, where volunteers helped evacuate buildings, find missing people and protect community assets.
“The houses that we were in were under about 3.5m of water,” David said.
He also spent a week in Kalumburu in 2005 “trying to get the community back on its feet” after Cyclone Ingrid.
The training manager said his son, who is studying to be a teacher, attended more incidents than he did these days.
“At the moment, he is a little bit more active than I am,” David said.
He said there were always opportunities for people to help for people interested in becoming members.
“If you’ve got time that you can be available, there’s always work that you can do to help,” he said.
May 23 is Wear Orange Wednesday, when people are encouraged to wear orange to show thanks to SES volunteers. Visit www.wearorangewednesday.com.au.
The Wanneroo-Joondalup SES unit will hold an open night this Wednesday.