Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities, and this National Volunteer Week, we are celebrating and recognising some of the amazing community spirit our Southern Ports team provides to our three regional communities.
For more than 20 years, Albany Port Manager Graeme Poole has dedicated his spare time to keeping our local community safe.
Born and bred in Albany, Graeme is a third-generation volunteer firefighter, proudly following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who were farmers in the region. A volunteer bush firefighter with the Kalgan Volunteer Bushfire Brigade, Graeme is also the Deputy Fire Chief for the City of Albany where he provides a leadership role, overseeing 16 different brigades.
Graeme is just one of numerous Southern Ports staff members who give up countless hours each week to volunteer.
Graeme, who celebrates his 16th year with Southern Ports next month, enjoys the camaraderie of the brigade and the chance to give back to his community.
There are as many as 900 volunteer firefighters in the Albany area alone. But as Graeme explains, the demand for volunteers is an ongoing reality, and you don’t need to be going out on a truck fighting fires to show your support.
"I'd highly recommend everyone and anyone get involved, it's a great way to stay connected, sociable and keep active," said Graeme.
"There are many different roles in a brigade. Every brigade needs to have a secretary, a treasurer, someone to help with the administration work. There's definitely a big need out there for more volunteers, for the Brigade and other volunteer organisations in our community."
In Esperance, Bryce Cooper has been giving back to the community through Volunteer Marine Rescue Services for more than 15 years, now training to be a senior skipper.
“Volunteering is important because of that sense of belonging, being part of the community and feeling like you can give back,” added Bryce.
Meanwhile, Rachel Marris, our MSIC Administrator and Emergency Response Team Member at Esperance, started training with St John last year and hasn’t looked back. Rachel’s not new to volunteering; she has been an active member of the Esperance sporting and school community for years.
“Volunteering keeps you in contact with others in your community and helps to keep you active and social. It is definitely good for your mental and your physical health.”
Graeme, Bryce and Rachel are three of many people across Southern Ports who play a vital role in volunteering across our regional communities – we thank them and all of the other volunteers in our communities making a significant difference.
National Volunteer Week runs from Monday 17 May to Sunday 23 May. For more information, visit volunteeringaustralia.org.