A number of NSW SES members from the Gunnedah Shire were recognised for their dedication and diligent service on Monday.
Five local recipients represented 110 years of services between them at the dinner and presentation in Gunnedah.
Officials were NSW SES commissioner Mark Smethurst, Gunnedah deputy mayor Gae Swain and NSW SES region controller Andrew Galvin.
Long service awards were given to Gunnedah SES member Natalie Rogers for 10 years service, Tambar Springs SES member Phillip Whillock for 30 years service, and Gunnedah SES member Peter Porter for 40 years service.
Both Tambar Springs SES member Robyn Styles and Gunnedah SES/Namoi North West Region member Katrina Davis were recognised for 15 years service and also received Australian Government National Medals.
The medals are given in recognition of government and voluntary organisations that protect or assist the community in times of emergency or natural disaster.
“Members who have had the honour of being a recipient of the prestigious National Medal for long service should be extremely proud,” NSW SES region controller Andrew Galvin said.
“This not only recognises their years of active service, but also their diligence and dedication to the safety of their local community.”
Life member Peter Porter joined the Gunnedah SES in 1976 at the age of 14.
“Initially I joined up because my older brother [Ken] was in it,” he said.
“He sort of conned me into it.”
Mr Porter said there had been massive change in the SES over the past 40 years.
“The equipment and technology is different. Back in the old days you trained more for natural disasters with minimum equipment,” he said.
“You did more like rope work. These days it’s more equipment-based, rather than old school like tying knots.”
Mr Porter said he enjoyed being part of SES because it was “something different”.
“It’s like being in the boy scouts but on steroids,” he said.
“We’re a pretty tight-knit group.
“We all get on, we all mesh, and when we have to come together, we work well.”
Some of Mr Porter’s strongest memories in the SES stem from floods in the local area.
“I picked up a goat one time in the Mooki River. And a farmer wanted to shift his sheep one time and we had about 15 sheep in our boat,” he said.
“It’s all fun.”
The long-time local said it was “nice to be appreciated” by NSW SES.
“It humbles you a bit to think you’ve been in the organisation this long and they actually do realise people have been in it this long,” he said.