Bringing Everyone Together – Andrew Cooke

Disaster Relief Australia | April 2021

member reflection andrew cooke

In my normal life I work as a security consultant. I currently work for myself as a private contractor and cover all parts of security, mainly in sport. Prior to that I was in the Police Force.

I heard about DRA while I was working at Invictus Games. It seemed interesting so I looked a little more into it. I started off with a small service project at the wildlife park. Op Elliott is my first full wave deployment. It’s great, being here is everything that I thought it would be. Everything is well planned and the days are structured. Being around a completely different group of people is good, we all have our different quirks. DRA is good at is bringing everyone together and making them into a team. The system works.

Being here has made me realise a few things. One of them is the enormous ongoing impact that disasters have on the community, not only in a financial sense but an emotional and psychological perspective. To a community this is a huge life changing event.

In the middle of a disaster all the combat agencies are there, everything has happened, but afterwards there is a big gap. This Op has really highlighted the disjoint between the disaster to the actual recovery. Most people wouldn’t understand until it happens to them.

I really enjoyed this week – this is exactly what I signed up for. The goal was to get together with like-minded people to help other people when I can and I absolutely enjoyed it thoroughly. I like being on the tools. That’s where my forte is. I really enjoy going out with the strike teams and to feel like I am helping in the community.