High-vis volunteer heroes recognised for service
AS THE days ticked by the search for an 83-year-old woman lost in the bush became increasingly desperate, but Nicole Pasquale said volunteer search parties never completely lost hope.
Ms Pasquale was one of dozens of State Emergency Service volunteers who spent four days searching for Barbara Marincic after she disappeared from her Yalboroo home in March.
The Mackay senior field operators said it was a rewarding and uplifting moment when Ms Marincic was found; dehydrated, caked in mud, lying in a cane field, but alive just 2km from her home.
Ms Pasquale said there was a moment of pure collective relief among the SES groups when the elderly woman had fought the odds and survived.
"Sometimes you're out there helping people on the worst days of their life," she said.
"You can't predict what the outcomes could be.
"Everyone was just happy it was finished and we found her safe and well."
The combined Mackay and Whitsunday SES Group air, water and land search was recognised as the operational response of the year for the Central Queensland region as part of SES Week celebrations.
At the Saturday award ceremony Ms Pasquale was also honoured for her commitment and service to the orange army over the past three years.
More than 40 Queensland Fire and Emergency Services officials, SES volunteers and their families attended the Saturday awards ceremony at the Mantra Hotel at Mackay Harbour.
While she was proud of the Yalboroo rescue, Ms Pasquale said her most harrowing mission was earlier in her SES career.
The Mackay music teacher said she was once called to help a seriously injured teenage girl trapped at Finch Hatton.
She said the patient in the casualty handling mission turned out to be one of her Year 12 students.
She said knowing that she could be called to help save someone she knew only drove her more.
"It means you want to do the best you can," Ms Pasquale said.
"Even if it's just fixing roofs."
New leadership reinvigorates SES
NEW leadership has revived the orange army in the Isaac region area, as the State Emergency Service is celebrated this week.
Isaac Region Local Controller Daniel Deal was given one of two SES week certificates at the Central Queensland award ceremony this Saturday.
Area controller Selina Neill said Mr Deal's six-month tenure in the top role had reinvigorated the rural service.
Mr Deal said he had noticed the volunteer army moving with new energy.
"A lot of people are a lot more motivated," the Moranbah-based leader said.
"Our training numbers are up, activations are up."
Mr Deal said a dormant SES unit had been restarted in Carmila and the Nebo road crash rescue teams were rejuvenated, all while the region campaigned for more volunteers.
"We're always looking for new members," he said.
Mr Deal said Isaac volunteers were called to action at least twice a week, responding to everything from ambulance assistance jobs to land searches and disaster response missions.
He said his 87 volunteers across eight SES units excelled when facing the challenge of keeping the large region safe.
"My region is the size of Tasmania," he said.
"Our volunteers are the backbone of the Isaac region."
Mr Deal has had eight years experience in the SES as a volunteer, with four serving as the deputy local controller.
SES WEEK AWARD RECIPIENTS:
SES Week Certificates:
Daniel Deal, Moranbah SES Group - for special contribution to the SES through the reinvigoration of the Isaac Regional SES Unit
Nicole Pasquale, Mackay SES Group - for special contribution to the SES through overall commitment and distinguished levels of service
Central Region Operational Response of the Year
Mackay and Whitsunday Regional SES Units for their extraordinary levels of service provided during a search for a missing person in Yalboroo in February 2020
Central Region Unit/Group of the Year
Bowen SES Group for their continued professionalism, preparedness and positive culture that fully aligns with the QFES values of Trust, Respect, Integrity, Loyalty and Courage.
SES Meritorious Service Medals
3rd clasp recognising 25 years of Service - Brian Kunst, Mackay SES Group
Medal recognising 10 years of service:
Leslie Brockhurst, Calen SES Group
Andrew Nicholson, Mirani SES Group
Daryl Wright, Mackay SES Group
David Serginson, Mackay SES Group
JoAnn Clout, Mackay SES Group
Susan McClelland, Mackay SES Group
National Medal 1st Clasp recognising 25 years of service
Andrew Wyatt, Regional Manager, Central Region