Brave volunteers nominated

Ebony SwetmanPilbara News

A team of State Emergency Service volunteers from Karratha are finalists in a Statewide team achievement award.

Rob Graham nominated his team of six for the award after they were deployed to help Marble Bar residents with evacuations and preparations during Cyclone Rusty in late February.

Mr Graham said his team including Rosie Strong, Nathan Donald, Matthew Bager, Nick Dawe and Keith Squibb, were originally sent to Marble Bar for three days but ended up staying a week.

“We left Port Hedland when they were on red alert, so we basically drove out into the cyclone,” he said.

“It takes a special bunch of people to volunteer their time to go into a particularly large cyclone like that.”

Mr Graham said they evacuated outer-lying Aboriginal communities on their way to Marble Bar, transporting them to evacuation centres in town.

He said they would have evacuated close to 30 people in communities such as Warralong and Gooda- Binya.

The town was cut off for close to four days when a nearby river flooded, and the team assisted residents with sandbags and storm damage equipment.

When the threat of Rusty passed, they helped the community get back to a state of normality before getting people back to their homes.

They also spent some of their time in Marble Bar training with the local SES team and sharpening their skills in communications.

Mr Graham said although the team was nominated for the award, it was the partners and family that he really wanted to thank.

“Without the support of our partners and our family, we couldn’t do what we do,” he said.

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