Fab five’s dedication reaps award

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

The dedication of five Albany Sea Rescue Squad volunteers were recognised on Friday at a medal presentation ceremony at Emu Point on Friday evening.

Among those presented with Volunteer Marine Rescue Services meritorious service certificates were stalwarts Colin Bairstow and Alec Cull, who were recognised with 40 and 35-year service medals respectively.

Jason Shepherd (10 years), Tina Dawson (five years) and Derek Ryall (five years) were also honoured for their dedication as volunteer marine rescue volunteers.

Life member Mr Bairstow, who fondly received his 35-year service medal alongside his late father Fred five years ago, said working and volunteering on the water was in his blood, and family was an important aspect of dedication to being a volunteer.

“I understand what it’s like and I want to get out there and help,” he said.

“You get a call and immediately you think what they’re going through and what it would be like in their shoes.”

Mr Bairstow said many squad members had been volunteers for either the State Emergency Service or as volunteer firefighters.

On receiving his service medal, Mr Ryall said it had been 50 years since he first became a volunteer and joined a bushfire brigade, while Ms Dawson was previously with the SES.

Mr Cull joined as a marine rescue volunteer in 1983, having previously been a founding member of the Walpole SES, as well as spending time at Roebourne Volunteer Fire and Rescue in the north of the State.

The Peaceful Bay Sea Rescue life member said he could remember starting as a volunteer at the former Drome volunteer bushfire brigade in 1961 when he was 15 years old.

Mr Cull said modern-day family pressures prevented many people from becoming volunteers.

“If your family don’t support you as a volunteer, well, you have nothing,” he said. Ms Dawson called for more young people to get involved.

“When you give back, it’s a great feeling and you do things that are outside your comfort zone,” she said.

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