his International Volunteer Day, the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) is celebrating its orange family, who tirelessly respond to calls for help from the community.

Just last week, more than 1300 NSW SES volunteers were on the ground working through more than 1500 incidents, as severe weather impacted the south east of the state over a three-day period.

Their response included 15 flood rescue activations, rapid damage assessments of flood impacted homes, leaking and damaged roofs and fallen trees.

This International Volunteer Day comes as the NSW State of Volunteering Report 2023 report is released, revealing more than 4.3 million residents across the state contributed 893 million hours to volunteering this year.

The report found volunteers contribute on average four hours each week to their volunteer roles. However, NSW SES volunteers are estimated to contribute above the average volunteer, attending weekly musters and training as well as responding to calls for assistance from the community.

Among the volunteers who give their time for the betterment of the community is NSW SES Parramatta Unit volunteer Marian Casey, who joined the Service in 2021 as a way of giving back and meeting likeminded people.

“Getting out there and helping with storm related jobs has been amazing,” Ms Casey said.

“I love being able to give back to my community; there’s nothing better than being able to make someone’s day infinitely better by removing a tree or helping apply a tarp. Getting a smile and a thank you during what could be a daunting time for people is just amazing.”

Ms Casey also dedicates time to St John’s Ambulance, Share the Dignity, Warrior Women Foundation, and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Recently, Ms Casey was named Woman of the Year and Volunteer of the Year at the Western Sydney Women Awards.

“We don’t do it for the praise or the recognition, we do it for the love of giving back to others, but to have a day dedicated to thanking us is amazing,” she said.

“I know many volunteers out there who give just us much in their evening and weekends to volunteering as they do to their day jobs.”

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM said the work of volunteers does not go unnoticed and thanked those proudly wearing orange for their commitment to helping their local communities.

“They take time away from their families and their livelihoods to support their community during times of need,” Commissioner York said.

“While our volunteers don’t do what they do for recognition or a pat on the back, it’s certainly important that we recognise them for all they do for our wider community.

“I want to thank all of our wonderful volunteers for their hard work in responding to flooding and severe weather events of the past 12 months, while also maintaining our response to road accidents, bush searches, large animal rescue and support to other emergency services.”

International Volunteer Day is held on December 5 annually to raise awareness of the role volunteers play in their local communities. The theme for 2023 is ‘If Everyone Did’.

NSW SES Parramatta Unit volunteer Marian Casey

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