Defence Family Matters : December 2015
DFMDecember2015 11 Defence partners and members around the country GIVE UP THEIR TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR COMMUNITY. Whether it’s hours at an animal shelter or time with a Defence-related community group, THEIR ASSISTANCE IS INVALUABLE and appreciated. In this edition of DFM we talk to two Defence partners about their VOLUNTEERING experiences. H elaine Clerk joined her local rural fire brigade in North Queensland when she was just 16 and has been a volunteer firefighter ever since. The partner of an Army member, Helaine is the 6th Officer with the Rangewood Rural Fire Brigade based near Townsville. Raised on a cane farm near Bambaroo, between Townsville and Ingham, Helaine says she joined to help her father respond to large fires in their area. “Growing up in the sugar industry, where fire is used in cane production, I have always had a fascination with fire — so joining was a given,” says Helaine. AT YOUR SERVICE MIA GINNIVAN 11 “It runs in my blood.” Helaine also works full-time as a training and support officer for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. “Whether I’m volunteering or in my paid role, being involved in the RFS (Rural Fire Service) is extremely rewarding and enjoyable,” she says. “From making new friends and gaining new skills to being involved with community events and supporting land owners at a time of need, there’s lots of highlights.” Helaine’s extensive training has led to deployments to large-scale wildfires, floods and cyclone affected areas. She believes Defence members and partners have a lot to offer the RFS and similar services around the country. “In our surrounding Townsville brigades we have both members and partners involved.” “Partners who have joined brigades have found it refreshing to make friends outside of Defence.” “With members, there’s many professional attributes they bring, such as leadership, professionalism and work ethic to name a few,” she says. Helaine’s brigade has more than 80 volunteers, including operational firefighters and support team members.