We are encouraging the people who are out there really looking after the community, and I’m very proud to be part of that. Absolutely!
Not long ago, our local Salvation Army Emergency Services team (also called SAES) was called out to support the firies at bushfires around Cessnock. At one stage eight trucks came in at once, full of firefighters, and they were completely exhausted. We all jumped on the barbecues to feed them and made sure they had plenty of cold drinks.
I think it’s so important for us volunteers to be there when emergency workers need a feed. I think it really encourages them to see that there are people looking after them while they are out looking after others. They come in and say, “thank you”, but we say, “no, thank you!”
We are also there to feed people who are evacuated during emergencies. That is how my “adopted mum”, her husband, and I first got to know the Salvos. Their home was damaged and they had no power and they were spending their days in an evacuation shelter where the Salvos were helping out.
We all went on then to train as SAES volunteers ourselves. The first big call-out we did was in the middle of floods and there was a family with three kids. They left the evacuation centre on the first night and went back down to their house. They came back and they’d been in waist-deep water and said, “We were just worried about our house”; and that was heartbreaking. But I’d got to know them a bit serving them food and drinks and was able to say, “Please don’t do it again! Your lives are worth much more than a house!”