Today's Volunteer: Bert Roberts, North West Regional Support Unit
It’s National Volunteer Week. To celebrate, we are spotlighting a different member of our service here each day.
“Lots of smaller towns depend on their volunteers,” says Bert Roberts. He should know.
Bert, 74, has volunteered with the SES for over 15 years. A long-standing member of the Marong unit, he retired in December 2010 when it “did get to the stage where I was too old to be jumping on roofs”.
That didn’t slow him down too much though. Since then he has been a member of the North West Regional Support Unit, where he provides support in Incident Control Centres and Divisional Commands in times of emergency.
“At the RSU we do whatever we can,” he says.
“I served through a long period of drought, and now we’ve had two big floods in two years.
“At Numurkah (earlier this year) I did quite a bit of running around helping elderly people who couldn’t get out of floodwater.
“Floods can be a harrowing experience. You don’t know what’s underneath.”
Bert joined the Marong unit shortly after moving to the area.
“The unit was very low on members. They did a mail drop, in fact.
“By joining there was a benefit to us, in meeting new people, as well as obviously the benefit for the community.”
Serving as Controller for about ten and a half years, Bert is proud to have brought additional benefits to his unit.
“Apart from emergencies, most of the units in smaller towns do get involved in the community. We would assist wherever we could,” he says.
“We would help with the cemetery cleanup when they needed us, and it was good experience for us.”
Driver Reviver in his neck of the woods was busy during holidays. That was before the highway and so Melbourne motorists reached his site about two hours into their journey.
When asked for his favourite memories from his SES career so far, Bert said travelling interstate to help with emergencies was a particular highlight.
“You get to meet new people, and there’s that feeling you get when you’re helping out. But there’s been too many really.”
Can you see yourself in orange? Visit our volunteer page for more information.