Thornlie resident reflects on 40 years as SES volunteer

Thornlie resident reflects on 40 years as SES volunteer

A THORNLIE man has been witness to incredible technological advancement throughout his 40 years volunteering with the State Emergency Service in Kewdale.

Robert Crawford has been an SES volunteer in the Communications Support Unit since early 1979, and he said communications are radically different nowadays.

“I tagged along with my Dad, he was a volunteer in the SES and founding member of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder SES,” he said.

“What keeps me most encased in SES is the change in technology, the new changes it presents and the way society has changed with the new technology as well.

“When I started, mobile phones were non-existent but now the emergency services use social media as part of their approach in dealing with situations.

“In the days where I first joined, all you had were two-way radios basically, or landline phones.”

Mr Crawford has been involved in some high-profile emergencies including the Moora floods in 1999 and the recent search for Mary Nix in Bindoon.

Mr Crawford has been involved in some high profile emergencies including the Moora floods in 1999 and the search for missing woman Mary Nix in Bindoon. Picture: David Baylis.

“The Communications Support Unit has Western Australia as its area of operation, so we could end up anywhere,” he said.

“We were at the fires in Esperance earlier in the year, we go to searches and bushfires and incidents all over the place.”

Wear Orange to Work Day is on today to recognise SES’s 60 years of operation and celebrate the thousands of SES volunteers in WA.

For Mr Crawford, Wear Orange to Work Day was special as it recognised volunteers and the people who enabled them to do it.

“When my children were younger, somebody had to mind them while I was off at emergencies,” he said.

“The ‘thanks’ that people often seem to give to volunteers, it really ends up being payment enough.”

Landmarks across the state will be lit up in orange tonight, including Matagarup Bridge, Elizabeth Quay, Yagan Square, Perth Concert Hall and Swan Bell Tower.