By Jessica Anstice
After bushfires, floods and a pandemic, it’s time to say ‘thanks’ to all of the hardworking SES volunteers.
Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW) rolled around on 20 May, giving the community an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the thousands of SES volunteers who dedicate their time to keeping residents safe.
Last year and this year have been the busiest in Victoria SES’ history, with volunteers responding to almost 35,000 requests for assistance. In the Cardinia shire, volunteers from Pakenham and Emerald units have attended over 2000 requests alone.
“2020 has been a challenging year for our volunteers,” Pakenham SES volunteer Shayne Honey said.
“From helping out the bushfire crisis, to managing our day-to-day storm and rescue events on top of responding during the current Covid-19 pandemic, but it shows we will be there in the event of a local emergency of a major disaster – rain, hail wind or shine.
“As SES volunteers we work together for our community. We respond when called upon and give up our personal lives to make Victoria safer, we’re proud of that and proud of our families who support us.”
Long-standing Emerald SES volunteer and deputy controller, Brendan Smith, celebrated the day in more of an unusual way – by dressing his two pet donkeys in an SES uniform.
The miniature donkeys took a trip down to the station on Wednesday morning and were soon enough the unit’s two newest recruits.
The national celebration encourages community members to wear orange and share selfies on social media with the tag #thankyouSES and #WOWDay.
SES volunteers wear a safe and distinctive shade of bright orange, and for WOW called on the community and celebrities to do the same, with Shane Jacobson, Jane Bunn and Mike Larkan among those donning orange on social media sharing the #thankyouSES message.
Landmarks around the state also lit up in a show of thanks for the SES volunteers, including the MCG, Bolte Bridge, Sound Tunnel, AAMI Park, and the Arts Centre.