Community thanks first responders

Monique said her family were grateful for all the help they had received from first responders after a shed fire at her family's property. Pic: SUPPLIED, CFA

By Gabriella Payne

Our emergency service responders do an amazing job on the front line and are constantly going above and beyond to help those in need – but now it’s time to turn the spotlight back on them, and say thanks for all the sacrifices they make, in order to help the community.

Wednesday 9 June marks ‘Thank A First Responder Day’ – a national day of gratitude, where all Australians are encouraged to say thanks to an emergency service worker in their community, so as “to create a clear and resounding voice of gratitude for those who do so much for us, for so little in return,” the organisation said.

CFA Chief Officer, Jason Heffernan said that this was an important time to recognise all the dedication and selflessness that our emergency responders pour into their work in order to help the community – be it police, paramedics, firefighters or SES volunteers.

“Our volunteers don’t sign up for recognition, but simply saying ‘thank you’ is an easy way to acknowledge their incredible efforts,” Mr Heffernan said.

“We would also like to extend that gratitude to our first responder partners who work tirelessly to support their communities in emergency situations.”

Pakenham SES media officer and volunteer, Shayne Honey said that ‘Thank A First Responder Day’ was a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge all the incredible SES volunteers in our community, but wanted to make a special thank you to their families too.

“It’s not just about emergency responders, but about their families as well,” Mr Honey said.

“You could be having dinner or family time and the pager goes off and you’ll drop everything to go and help a stranger.

We’ve got members on standby at the moment to go to Gippsland with an hour and a half’s notice.

They basically put their life on hold to go and help someone who needs it – and their families have to watch them run out the door. I think that needs to be rewarded in itself,” he said.

Mr Honey thanked all Pakenham’s SES volunteers for giving up their time to help those in need in the local community, and said that each member, whether they had volunteered for one year or 40 years, had their own unique skills to bring to the table.

Monique, a community member who had been touched by the efforts of emergency service responders after a recent fire at her family’s Woori Yallock property, reached out to the CFA to share her family’s gratitude for all the work they do.

“My mum was home alone when she looked out the window and saw smoke up the hill near the shed, so she called 000,” Monique said.

“There were 11 fire trucks as well as an ambulance and SES.

I really want to emphasise how appreciative our family is, especially for the four brigades that came out to help, but also made the effort of coming out the following day to check if my parents were ok,” she said.

“My mum felt very relieved that she was no longer alone, and she said the firefighters were so supportive and so nice, and really put her mind at ease.”

If you know a first responder, make sure to reach out, give them a pat on the back and say thank you – it’ll mean a lot.