Lismore SES husband and wife teams Stuart and Sue Ferguson, at rear, and Geoff and Mel Mapstone.
Lismore SES husband and wife teams Stuart and Sue Ferguson, at rear, and Geoff and Mel Mapstone. Blainey Woodham

SES matchmakes as well as rescues

FOR Geoff and Mel Mapstone it wasn't quite love at first sight when they joined the State Emergency Service at Lismore.

However, five or so years on, not only have they joined families and married they join forces in the field when the State Emergency Service is called on.

Mr Mapstone works in his trade by day and his volunteer work at the SES involves staffing headquarters during times of disaster.

"You learn a lot of valuable skills out in the field or in headquarters," he said.

"You help your community and give something back."

"A lot of people appreciate what you do. You don't do it for monetary reward, but to help out. It gives you a good feeling."

That good feeling extends to the enjoyment Mr Mapstone has in being able to share his passion as an SES volunteer with his wife.

For Mel Mapstone, joining up was a natural step.

"I have an army background so I thought my skills would be useful working with the SES," she said.

While they knew each other before the SES, love blossomed on the job and they married 18 months ago.

"We have a common interest, something we share, a passion we both have," Mr Mapstone said.

"We can bounce ideas off each other."

"It can get heated but it's natural. At the end of the day, we always get in and get the job done.

"I get to tell him what to do. It's not much different from home," Mrs Mapstone jokes.

"But we are kind of lucky as we have our separate domains too.

"I work in the field and Geoff at headquarters.

"Sometimes there is overlap and the kids might say we can be a bit feisty, but at the end of the day we are generally working to achieve the same thing in an emergency and we always have the end goal in mind."

Lismore City SES Local Controller Stuart Ferguson and his wife Sue both work with the SES.

"It's easier if a partner is involved because they can understand why you are away from home while volunteering," Mrs Ferguson said.

The Lismore City unit has 53 volunteers but there's always a need for more.

"Volunteers come from all walks of life and do both administration and field roles," said Mr Ferguson.

And who knows, like Geoff and Mel Mapstone, working at your local SES might just bring more than a rewarding volunteer job.

The SES Volunteer Information Day is being held on Sunday, February 26, from 10am-2pm at 61 Brunswick St, Lismore opposite the Westpac helicopter base.

For more information on volunteering call the duty officer on 0407 219 400.



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