Combined 75 years of service-SES

Four Rutherglen SES members were recently recognised with Service Awards for their exceptional contribution to the local community. Pictured is Andrew Cofield (10 years), Roger Farrell (10 years), Mark Nesbitt (15 years), and Irene Cracknell OAM (40 years).

Four Rutherglen SES volunteers have notched up a combined 75 years of service to the community.

Andrew Cofield, Roger Farrell, Mark Nesbitt and Irene Cracknell OAM recently received Service Awards for supporting the community through floods, fires, accidents, storms, and other catastrophic events.

Mr Cofield and Mr Farrell were both recognised for 10 years of service, Mr Nesbitt 15 years and Mrs Cracknell an incredible 40 years of service.

The VICSES awards had been postponed from 2019/20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vineyard manager Andrew Cofield joined Rutherglen SES in 2010 with a desire to help the community in times of need.

Mr Cofield said the Rutherglen crew were a “great friendly team”.

“The most rewarding experience being part of SES is assisting our team with door knocking for the Good Friday Appeal and just being a member within our local community,” he said.

Deputy Controller Roger Farrell has been part of Rutherglen SES for 15 years originally joining to help the community.

Mr Farrell told the Free Press his most rewarding experience within SES was the “successful recue of a trapped persons”, demonstrating just how important the emergency organisation is in the local area.

Mark Nesbitt who also serves as Deputy Controller, and previously as Controller, joined Rutherglen SES in 2003.

“There is a continual need to keep a viable Rutherglen Unit operating as well as continuing to assist the community,” he said.

Mr Nesbitt, a teacher and keen “but not all that good” gardener said his most rewarding experience was seeing people who he has assisted continue to be part of the community and able to go about their normal lives.

Rutherglen SES Controller Irene Cracknell was the first female member when she joined more than 40 years ago, tagging along with her husband Bruce.

“I am passionate about being part of a great organisation being part of the local community,” she told the Free Press,

“The most rewarding experience is the satisfaction of helping people in a time of need.”

Outside of SES, Mrs Cracknell is an active Justice of the Peace, a long serving member of the Indigo Shire Atauro Friendship Committee and has travelled widely including Timor Leste, the UK and New Zealand. A mother of four children, grandmother to three and great grandmother to four, Mrs Cracknell is proof that you can maintain an active volunteering role while having family and other commitments.

Last Wednesday, Rutherglen SES joined in on Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW) Day celebrations; a day to say “thank you” to Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) volunteers.

Held during National Volunteer Week, WOW Day is a national campaign and an important day of appreciation for volunteers, who selflessly dedicate their time and skills to helping their communities during their most acute time of need.

VICSES North East Region volunteers responded to more than 3,500 calls for help in the last twelve months, providing assistance with over 2,100 downed trees, nearly 300 damaged buildings and 190 road rescues.

Considered the busiest year in VICSES history, volunteers supported local communities during flood, storm, landslide, road rescue, search and rescue events with the January 30 Rutherglen Storm being one of many examples where local SES members played a major role in supporting the community.