I share with you my story to encourage others to get involved in their community. Together we can do wonderful things to help, support and care for those around us. I believe the greatest blessing in life is to love and care for one another.
Deepwater is a small rural community with approximately 350 people that runs through the New England Highway. Like most small rural places, lending a hand to your neighbour is the done thing and when someone is in need we work together. As a result, our volunteer services hold us together in tough times such as droughts, floods, bushfires, and tragedies.
I believe rural women play a large role in contributing to the resilience of our communities. Our skills are varied, we partake in several activities, the demands are huge, but I believe we all share a common love for our rural way of life.
The SES (State Emergency Service) volunteers have provided a very diverse set of skills to Deepwater and surrounding communities for more than 30 years. In 2006, I was privileged to join the friendly team of very proficient operators (the mentoring was second to none), and was trained in one of the diverse areas of the SES unit as frontline response to motor vehicle collisions in a rescue and first aid capacity.
As we live 40km from the nearest Ambulance service or emergence capable hospital, the Ambulance Service and SES collaborated to equip a number of personnel in November 2007 as ‘Community First Responders’, who provide initial emergency health care and answer 000 emergency requests.
This began our/my journey coming face to face with farming accidents, motor vehicle collisions, drug overdoses, cardiac arrests, suicides, broken limbs and sick little children, just to mention a few. Overall, we responded to approximately 120 requests for assistance in 2018 from rural and isolated communities. It was an absolute privilege to support, serve and care for the people in our community.
It must also be said that this service can take a toll on our volunteers, as most of the time we are attending to people we know such as friends, family or colleagues. Standing together in the difficulties of life and sharing the load is vital so that we can keep moving forward.
My husband Reuben and I help out with a number of other volunteer organisations including our local Anglican Church Services, as the congregation can no longer financially support a paid minister. We feel strongly about maintaining our Christian presence and sharing joyful moments with everyone such as weddings and baptisms. Providing a caring place to hold funeral services is also vitally important to the health and well-being of our community.
For a number of years, teaching Scripture and Bible education at our local primary school has been a blessing to me, and I feel the children teach me more than I teach them. What joy and excitement I feel to see groups of beautiful young people peering into the Bible helping each other read and understand what they are learning about, they are all so hungry to learn. I don’t have words that can express how wonderful this is to me.
I feel very passionately about playing my part in the lives of our young people, they are the present and future.
Romans 8: 31 – 37 you may find interesting to read.
Living is to love and care for one another.
God bless you
An annual initiative of the Department of Primary Industries’ Rural Women’s Network, Hidden Treasures recognises the outstanding efforts of women volunteers in NSW and promotes the valuable role of volunteering to the community.
You can nominate a friend, family member, colleague, community worker – any rural woman who you believe makes your community a better place to live. To nominate a Hidden Treasures volunteer you simply need to complete the Nomination Form and tell us a short ‘story’ about why your nominee is worthy.
All rural women nominated will be included in the 2019 Honour Roll to be launched at the annual NSW Rural Women’s Gathering in Walcha on 3 November 2019. To nominate a rural woman in your community, visit https://bit.ly/2JK1qxH