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Volunteers honoured

Published 11/06/2013

Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers Julie Jochs and Colin Matheson were named on this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Mrs Jochs is Deputy Controller of Swan Hill SES and Mr Matheson is Controller of Lilydale SES. Both received the Emergency Services Medal (ESM).

The ESM was introduced in 1999 to recognise distinguished service relating to emergency management, training or education within Australia’s emergency services.

Mrs Jochs has given her service to Victoria SES for more than 12 years as both a volunteer and employee.

Her roles as North West Region Peer Team Leader and Peer Duty Officer have seen her responding to the psychological needs of her SES teammates at all hours of the day or night.

Mrs Jochs’ leadership of her Peer team and promotion of the Peer service is rightfully seen as setting the standard across Victoria, although she said SES volunteers never did anything for the accolades.

“But when we do get them, it’s just amazing,” she said.

“For me, no one person can do great things without the support of their team. I have a fantastic team of peers and a fantastic unit, and without the support of them and the regional staff, I couldn’t do it. I think everyone needs to take some credit.”

Mr Matheson was similarly humble.

“I didn’t set out to do anything special. I was just enjoying what I was doing for 38 years, so I kept doing it,” he said.

Over that time Mr Matheson has held every major position within the Lilydale Unit, including his current role of Controller, which he has held for about five years.

His commitment of time, energy and passion is above and beyond anything expected of an SES volunteer. Mr Matheson brings a wealth of operational knowledge to his role, as well as a willingness to teach younger generations.

SES CEO Mary Barry congratulated Mrs Jochs and Mr Matheson on their honours.

“Julie and Colin are both highly deserving of the Emergency Services Medal and should be proud; SES is certainly proud of them,” she said.

“Both have demonstrated why SES volunteer are so highly valued and respected by their communities.”

“On behalf of Victoria SES and the entire community, I thank Julie and Colin for their continued service and commitment to keeping the people of Victoria safe.”