Out of the sky and into the SES
THE holiday season is upon us while everyone is preparing to wind down at work and take a break, spare a thought for the SES volunteers.
For the men and women of the State Emergency Service the next few months could potentially be one of the busiest times but despite being on call 24-Seven, Coffs Coast Regional Local Commander Bill Roffey wouldn't have it any other way.
Bill, who just celebrated his 72nd birthday this month, joined the SES 14 years ago after military and high-flying business and couldn't imagine "retiring".
"Back in 2004 the tail-end of a cyclone came through Emerald Beach where I was living and did a fair bit of damage - I saw a lot of people in orange," he said.
"At the time I was running my own business and I had time to help out. I went to Woolgoolga to try and join but they didn't have SES and my nearest was Coffs Harbour."
The rest, as they say, is history and Bill not only joined but rose up through the ranks. He is now local commander for the Coffs Coast Region which stretches from Corindi to Urunga and out to Dorrigo.
For Bill it is all about helping the community but more than that it's about keeping his brain active.
With his Newspaperman grandfather working almost to the end and his electrical engineer father doing the same Bill was never going to be someone to sit down and put his feet up.
"Must be in my genes," he laughed.
"It is all about keeping yourself active and motivated. I have no desire to just sit down in a chair until I start dribbling and die."
In fact Bill says he doesn't regret swapping the jet-setting corporate life for the SES in fact "I often wonder how come I didn't discover this earlier".
As local commander coming into storm season and possible accidents on the Pacific Highway Bill knows there might not be a lot of chances to put his feet up much over Christmas.
However Bill said there were plenty of things people could do to make the SES' job easier and keep your house safer including things like cleaning out their gutters and removing losing trees, even just making sure your garden furniture and trampolines are secure during storms.
For more information on what you should do in storm season or to find out about volunteering, go to ses.nsw.gov.au.