From providing lifesaving support during car accidents and cyclones to helping search for missing persons, volunteers around the Kimberley are always there lending a helping hand. As part of National Volunteer Week, the Broome Advertiser sat down with volunteers in the region to find out what led them to giving up their time to help the community. Ginette Brugmans, 65, has been volunteering at Broome St John WA for seven years and says it has been one of the most rewarding things she’s ever done. “I’ve got a massive new family now with the people I volunteer with,” she said. Ms Brugmans said there had been many highlights over the years but it was doing small things for patients that had stuck with her the most. “There was a lady who’d fallen fallen over near her door and she couldn’t get up, so we went around and got her into a chair, made her a cup of coffee, fed her dogs and made sure she had everything she needed,” she said. “You walk away feeling really good.” And while there were good days when you could help someone, there were bad days where someone could lose their life but that came with the territory Ms Brugmans said. “We had a young fellow who lost his life up at one of the stations, that was really sad,” she said. Ms Brugmans said St John was always looking to get more volunteer hands on deck. “The more people we can get volunteering, the better,” she said. Broome St John WA has 60 volunteers who respond to more than 5000 call-outs a year, which can range from Royal Flying Doctor Service transfers to Priority One situations. Fleur Pedlar started volunteering for the Broome SES seven years ago when she decided to join up along with the rest of her family. “I joined up with my youngest son after my husband and my older son had already joined up,” she said. “So when we got a call we would all jump in the car and race down to the depot.” Rescuing people from falls and floods can all be very rewarding Ms Pedlar said, but training up new volunteers and watching them put their skills to use during a disaster was also one of the perks of the job. “We do all the really cool things like call-outs and rescuing people but you also get a lot out of watching people join, get trained up and then going to a call-out and merging into their new role as an SES member,” she said. Ms Pedlar said the SES was always looking for more volunteers and encouraged anyone to come and join up. “We are open to new volunteers all year round so I would say come down, we’re open to anybody’s skill level coming in,” she said. “It gets busy but I really enjoy it and I enjoy the people as well, they become like your family.” Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said SES volunteers played a vital role in keeping our communities safe and encouraged the public to wear orange on May 18 in support of SES volunteers for Wear Orange Wednesday. “More than 2100 SES volunteers provide the WA community with a valued and vital service,” he said. “SES volunteers leave their homes, jobs and loved ones without hesitation to help other people when emergency or disaster strikes. “They make themselves available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and travel from every corner of the State to help those in need, and for all that we say ‘thank you’.” During the latest wet season, Broome SES responded to 43 requests for assistance, including 24 related to storms and 12 related to floods. National Volunteer Week runs from May 16 to 22.