Volunteers who played a vital role during the response to some of Western Australia’s major incidents were among those honoured at the 2021 WA Fire and Emergency Service Awards last night.
The State Emergency Service (SES) experienced one of its busiest years in Western Australian history as the massive response required for Tropical Cyclone Seroja was compounded by the Wooroloo bushfire and a heavy workload throughout winter.
Over the past 12 months volunteers attended more than 3300 incidents and spent 20,000 hours helping communities respond to cyclones, storms, floods, land searches and other incidents.
Armadale SES’ Connie Eikelboom ESM received the Peter Keillor award, the highest individual honour within the service, for completing a four-week deployment in the Midwest-Gascoyne during the response to TC Seroja.
The Team Achievement Award went to the Communications Support Unit for committing more than 3,300 hours on active operations in the past 12 months, including building a key piece of equipment that provided essential communications at the Red Gully and Wooroloo Bushfires.
And 24-year-old James Cotter from Carnarvon SES received the Youth Achievement Award for his dedication to strengthening team culture and attracting new members to the service.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said the awards recognised the invaluable contribution of volunteers in keeping the community safe.
“It has been an extraordinary challenging year for the SES, who have responded to thousands of requests for assistance from the public,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“While the national spotlight was on Tropical Cyclone Seroja, it’s important to remember that SES volunteers have also been assisting with storm damage, flooding, and logistical support at bushfires.
“Over the past 12 months, SES volunteers attended over 3,300 incidents and volunteered over 20,000 hours of their time to help communities across the State respond to cyclones, storms, floods, land search and rescues and other emergency situations.
“These awards are an opportunity for us to show our gratitude and thanks to our volunteers, who put their personal lives on hold to support Western Australia in trying circumstances.”
The 2021 WA Fire and Emergency Service Awards winners in the State Emergency Service categories are:
State Emergency Service Team Achievement Award
Communications Support Unit
The busiest SES Unit in Western Australia is motivated by its members’ desire to keep the community safe. In the past 12 months, the team has clocked more than 3,300 hours on active operations. The group built the Hilltop Kit, the key piece of equipment that provided DFES incident management teams with essential communications at the Red Gully and Wooroloo Bushfires.
Peter Keillor Award
Connie Eikelboom ESM, Armadale State Emergency Service
As a local manager and peer supporter, Connie Eikelboom is there for her community in times of greatest need. She spent four weeks in Kalbarri and Northampton to support local crews following the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Seroja. At home in Armadale, Connie makes herself available for a cup of tea and a chat to support her community whenever someone needs support.
State Emergency Service Youth Achievement Award
James Cotter, Carnarvon State Emergency Service
At only 24-years of age, James Cotter is one of the most active members of Carnarvon SES. He leads training and operations and promotes the benefits of the SES, which has strengthened the team culture and morale and retained and attracted new members. James also holds other volunteering roles in Carnarvon, finding other avenues to support the community.
For more information about the 2021 WA Fire and Emergency Service Awards visit dfes.wa.gov.au/awards
Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543