SES Volunteers Receive Emergency Service Medals on Australia Day

26/01/2018 09:34 AM

Two NSW SES volunteers have received the Emergency Services Medal (ESM) on Australia Day in recognition of their outstanding service to the community.

The two volunteers are Evelyn Lester from the NSW SES The Hills Unit and Philip Downs from the NSW SES Holbrook Unit.

Evelyn Lester joined The Hills Unit in 2002, quickly showing herself to be a dedicated and skilled member of the Service. She was appointed the Local Controller for the Hills Local Government Area in 2008 and set out to reinvigorate and transform the Unit. Through her exemplary leadership, The Hills Unit has grown from 40 to over 150 members, greatly increasing the ability of the Unit to respond to events in one of the most storm-affected parts of Sydney.

An example of this was the Unit’s response to the February 2017 hailstorm with the Unit responding quickly and efficiently to over 1,200 requests for emergency assistance, with a succession of storms resulting in this number growing in the following weeks to over 3,600. In this, and other events Evelyn has proved a supportive, courageous and decisive leader who well utilises her strong communications skills to reassure her community and inspire her team.

The Hills Shire Council and the wider community have been made more resilient and prepared as a result of Evelyn’s leadership, and her Unit is now far better able to assist their local, and the wider community, during times of emergencies and disasters.

Philip Downes is one of the founding members of the NSW SES Holbrook Unit, formed 36 years ago. Phil has developed considerable expertise in the area of road crash rescue, for which his insights and skills have earned him widespread recognition and praise.

Phil has also contributed to the design of new SES vehicles as a volunteer member of the Fleet Project Team, travelling to both Sydney and Wollongong and participating in numerous teleconferences to ensure that the vehicles now being delivered to SES units across the State meet member and emergency services’ needs.

Not only does Phil share his knowledge at a State level, but Phil is also a mentor to new members at the Unit, passing down his 36 years of accumulate wisdom to new members, especially in the challenging area of road crash rescue.

Phil has seen many rescues and accidents over the years, both vehicular and involving farm machinery, and there are undoubtedly many in the Holbrook and wider community who have benefited from his confident leadership and rescue skills.

The NSW SES congratulates both of these recipients on their award and thanks them on behalf of the NSW SES and wider New South Wales community for their diligent and skilled service in helping the communities in their times of need.

Pictured: The Emergency Services Medal (ESM)


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