A veteran friend suggested I look at Disaster Relief Australia when I was looking for an opportunity to give back after many years of paid work. I was immediately impressed by DRA’s focus on getting things done and helping others in their hour of need. Thinking about it, I realised there was a huge gap between the initial emergency response in a disaster and the subsequent recovery from that disaster. DRA had the solution, providing teams of motivated, trained and “can do” people to assist others in the recovery phase of a disaster.
I joined DRA in my hometown Sydney and very quickly found myself completing induction and a nationally recognised basic first aid course. Right from that moment, I felt a sense of purpose.
I went on to complete an advanced first aid course that gave me the knowledge and confidence to treat a wide variety of injuries. I’ve also been trained as a chainsaw operator.
I have now deployed on three operations with DRA, two fires and one flood. My roles have been varied in these deployments ranging from Mission Commander right down to strike team member and I can honestly say I have enjoyed them all. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than giving another human a hand up in a time of crisis. The smile on a stranger’s face is all the reward I need.
One of the things I really enjoy about DRA is meeting and getting to work with fantastic fellow volunteers. DRA members come from all over Australia and have varied backgrounds. I have deployed with ex police, ex military, paramedics and motivated civilians, amongst others, and made many friends in the process. We all have one thing in common and that is a desire to help others in their hour of need. I find it immensely satisfying to walk amongst people like this.
I aim to deploy with DRA at least once a year and hope that I’m able to continue giving back for many years to come.