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Time to thank our quiet heroes

SES volunteers Jannette and Charles Elson prepare for a missing persons search exercise using maps and GPS technology.
SES volunteers Jannette and Charles Elson prepare for a missing persons search exercise using maps and GPS technology. Max Fleet

THEY ARE the backbone of our society - the people who get in and keep our community moving - and they do it without asking for a thing.

They are volunteers, and this week is dedicated to saying thanks for all their hard work.

The Bundaberg region is blessed to have thousands of volunteers in all forms, such as retired couple Janette and Charles Elson.

Mr Elson is the Woodgate SES group leader and Mrs Elson is both an SES member and a Woodgate first responder.

"It's fantastically rewarding," Mrs Elson said.

"It's a good way to meet new people."

The pair have been with the Woodgate SES since it started six years ago.

"It's a great team of people," Mrs Elson said

During their time with the SES, Mr and Mrs Elson have responded to emergencies in many places including Woodgate, Bundaberg, Brisbane, the Lockyer Valley, Townsville and Tully.

"You can't imagine the devastation in these places until you go there," she said.

"It's nice to be able to help and feel useful."

Mrs Elson said she and her husband did not mind giving their time to volunteer work.

"I think we've just always done things for the community," she said.

"It's just the way we were brought up.

"I don't think of it as selfless because you get a lot back."

Dave and Jill Way are also avid volunteers and are members of the Burnett Heads Rural Fire Service.

"Joining is the greatest thing we've ever done," Mr Way said.

"In our belief, it's given us a second family - they're all such great people."

Mr Way said when he and his wife moved to the area two years ago, they came across a Rural Fire Service stand at the Burnett Heads Lighthouse Festival, signed up on the spot and haven't looked back.

"It's just incredible what we've learned," he said.

"It enables us to give back to the community."

Mr Way said the rural firies were not just about battling blazes.

As a community educator, he said he had also held displays at events and taught schoolchildren about fighting fires.

"My wife is a also a peer support officer and the secretary."

Topics:  community, rural fire service, ses, volunteers, volunteer week


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