KONGWAK resident Paul Goldfinch was on a video call to his grandchildren on Easter Saturday when an 80ft tall tree crushed his carport, resulting in his Land Rover being written off.

Today, he’s saying thanks to the VICSES volunteers who attended the call-out as part of Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day).

It’s the national day of recognition to say thank you to SES volunteers for their commitment.

“I am so impressed by the care taken by the Leongatha unit volunteers after the tree came down on my property,” Paul said.

“They did everything they could to avoid further damage to my other vehicle, my caravan and my boat – things I’ve worked very hard for.

“VICSES members obviously enjoy helping people. What words can you say to someone that helps you out just because you need? ‘Thank you’ is the only thing I can say.”

Leongatha unit controller Matthew Saario said the selflessness and dedication of members in the eastern region is commendable – especially during such a challenging year.

“WOW Day is a fantastic opportunity for the public to say ‘thank you’ to all local VICSES members who have sacrificed their time to help their community during times of fire, flood, and even pandemic,” he said.

In the past 12 months, VICSES volunteers have responded to 2628 requests for assistance in the east – taking in the area between Phillip Island and Mallacoota, and up to Warragul and Erica.

Towns in Victoria’s east with the most VICSES callouts were Mallacoota (388 incidents), Warragul (169 incidents), and Traralgon (166 incidents). The most common types of incidents in this 12-month period were trees down (2463), assist other agency (415) and flood (191).

Hundreds of SES volunteers supported the bushfire response over summer, followed by thousands of calls to assist with storm damage and storms in recent months.

Bravely, volunteers have put on their orange uniforms and helped the public during their time of need even through the challenges presented during a global pandemic.

Victorians are encouraged to get their families and friends involved in WOW Day celebrations by wearing orange and posting a photo to social media using the hashtags #WOWDay #ThankYouSES.

VICSES is also the largest provider of road rescue in the state.