SES boss pays back his ‘debt’ to community
GERRY Burnage said he volunteered with the Ballina State Emergency Service because he wanted to give back to a community he adopted in 1975.
The 66-year-old came to Australia as a 10 Pound Pom.
But with more than 30 years' service under his belt with the Ballina SES, and the countless volunteer hours, there is little doubt that Mr Burnage has paid back any 'debt' in spades.
Mr Burnage was last week presented with the second clasp to his long service medal, recognising his long, long service. He is in his 32nd year with the unit.
"It's all about helping the community," he said.
Mr Burnage said it was nice to be recognised, but that's not why he does the job.
In his time, Mr Burnage has attended horrific road crash rescues and he has been out and about in the worst of weather.
He said the Lennox Head tornado was the worst of the natural disasters he has seen in his time, while he also admitted the notorious Tintenbar Hill, on the old Pacific Hwy, was almost a second home at times, attending road crashes.
He said he and the team at the unit got through those events by bonding together and accepting support provided by the SES.
Mr Burnage's experience is being utilised at state level, as he is now involved in the designing of the trucks used by the SES
Ken Brown also was acknowledged for his 30 years' service. He began with the SES in 1982, but couldn't attend the presentation night at the Ballina headquarters.