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SSC Newspaper : July 2012
JULY 2012 18 Strathfield Scene HEROES HELP OUR By Bernadette Chua They are the people who answer emergency calls from Strath eld residents in need. At our community events, they're the friendly people barbecuing the sausages and shaking their donation collecting tins. And, despite the dramatic events which have unfolded for the Strath eld SES over the past few weeks, the team have held strong and are an extremely close knit and dedicated group. ey have jobs, families and lives outside of saving Strath eld, so who are the heroes behind the orange uniforms and helmets and what is the history of their organisation? e Strath eld unit of the NSW State Emergency Service was rst known as the Strath eld Civil Defence Organisation, which included the areas of Auburn, Concord, Drummoyne, Bur wood and Strath eld. By 1961, the Strath eld Civil Defence Organisation had over 130 members and in 1989, they were renamed as the Strath eld State Emergency Service. e SES's rst home in En eld saw the inauguration of the volunteer group. at rst home was destroyed by re in 2008. Strath eld's SES team is led by Darrin Parkin, who has been with the SES for 16 years. Parkin took over the role of Local Controller in 2006. He has led his team into the Blue Mountains to ba le bush res and he has also helped residents of Queensland during the 2011 oods. For Parkin, volunteering runs in the family. e now 31-year- old joined the service a er being inspired by his father, who began volunteering with the SES during the 1980s, when Parkin was a boy. "My father was an SES volunteer during the 1989 Newcastle earthquake. I saw him leave the house and he was gone over a week helping as a volunteer," Parkin says. "Ever since then, I wanted to join and just had to wait for the age limit. I was then able to join the Ryde Unit and start learning my rescue skills in 1995. I then followed my father to Concord/Drummoyne as he took over as Local Controller. He is still a volunteer of the NSW SES." Parkin works as a Local Government O cer and has dedicated his time to training new recruits and taking good care of his SES "family". "I like being able to pass on my knowledge and skills to new SES volunteers," he says. "You also develop great friendships with your fellow volunteers. "I have met so many new friends over my 16 years around NSW, Queensland and Victoria from assisting in di erent operational tasks such as oods, storms and tropical cyclones." Anthony Glinatsis, who is the director of a merger and acquisitions company by day and an SES hero by night, says he joined the group a year and a half ago a er he saw oods ravage his mother's home. "My mother lived through the oods in Narrabri, NSW and when I saw the oods in Queensland, I knew that I couldn't just sit back and watch it on TV," he tells the Scene. "Australia has been an amazing country to my family, as it has been to so many other migrant families that came here with nothing, or their o spring. Volunteering is my small way of giving back." Deputy Local Controller, Joanne Giano o, who at 24 is one of the youngest members of the team, owns her own branding and design agency. She says she wouldn't own her own business without the skills she learnt with the SES. "I joined the SES to continue the volunteer work that I did in school," she says. "I was introduced to the SES and thought, 'this is completely di erent to anything I have ever done', so I stuck around. "For me personally, volunteering has been a fantastic experience. I have grown and developed so much as a person since I rst joined. "Volunteering has helped me develop my leadership and management skills -- something that without, I don't think I would have ended up with my own business." Get to know your SES ey are always there when you need them -- during times of ood, re and storm -- but who are the men and women underneath the striking orange uniforms? BHARKT BALSAVAR LOCAL CONTROLLER DARRIN PARKIN CATHERINE GIAMMARCO DEPUTY RESCUE OFFICER ALEX TODD DEPUTY CONTROLLER JOANNE GIANOTTA GREG O'REILLY MICHAEL LOWE LYNDALL HENRY ALAN PARKIN ANTHONY GLINATSIS JANET MOORE DEPUTY TEAM LEADER JULIAN RICHARDS "When I saw the oods in Queensland, I knew that I couldn't just sit back and watch it on TV"