The Hills State Emergency Services (SES) Awards

Current SES Controller Evelyn Lester with former controllers Eric Maronese (1980 to 1988) and Barry McDonnel (1970 to 1978)
Current SES Controller Evelyn Lester with former controllers Eric Maronese (1980 to 1988) and Barry McDonnel (1970 to 1978)
by Bev Jordan

There was a lot to celebrate last week when a tide of orange overalls swept into Hills Shire Council.

A special function was held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Hills State Emergency Services and also thank volunteer members for their service.

Keith Grant, 82, was given a 50 year service ward for dedicated service.

A teacher, he joined the SES when he moved to Baulkham Hills.

“We were fairly new in the area and I wanted to make a contribution, I thought the emergency services was a fine way to do it,” he said.

“I was always a do it yourself kind of person.”

Neil Gall, 76, is the next longest serving member of The Hills SES with 44 years service.

“I wanted to get involved in the community.

“I was living in North Rocks and read about the SES in the paper.

“In those days we only 20 members now there are 150 on the books.

“Things have changed.”

“It’s fantastic organisation it’s community minded. The training is very good. “

Mr Grant said it was great to see all the younger members, the future of the SES.

Special guests on the night included Mitchell Federal MP Alex Hawke, Castle Hill MP Ray Williams and Berowra Federal MP Julian Leeser.

Hills Shire Mayor Michelle Byrne said the 50th anniversary was an “impressive milestone”

“Congratulations to the many volunteers who make up the unit – every hour you give of your own time to our community contributes to making a real and very valuable difference to people’s lives.

“ A special thanks to the Local Controllers and their deputies, past and present whose leadership and guidance has ensured our unit is one of the best in the State. “

“Last year, The Hills experienced a number of severe storms which damaged homes, cars and property. The Hills SES was fully operational day-in and day-out with more than 1800 requests for assistance during this time. “