A call out to Cudal to conduct routine flood work in 2015 quickly turned into a rescue which saved the life of a little girl.
Robert Stevens is the State Emergency Service (SES) volunteer who responded to a woman’s desperate cry that her daughter was trapped in rising flood waters.
The child had attempted to free farm animals from a cage when rising water caused debris to wash in the way of the door.
“The water was rising at about 10 centimetres per minute so I grabbed a rope and bolt cutters and sure as eggs she was in the middle of a torrent of water,” Mr Stevens said.
The three SES workers involved managed to cut the girl free with approximately 15 cm of breathing space left in the cage, they were awarded a Unit Citation Bravery Award for their efforts.
“Had there not been an emergency response vehicle there in Cudal I have no doubt that she would not be alive today,” Mr Stevens said.
On Wednesday the SES is asking the nation to come out in support of these men and women who volunteer their time for emergency relief and disaster situations.
WOW Day will see towns and cities across Australia take part, with everyone encouraged to wear orange clothes on May 23.
Orange has about 30 SES volunteers who responded to 500 calls over the past two years, the team is almost evenly divided between men and women.
The jobs can be as diverse as assisting in a flood, conducting a search, or removing a fallen tree from the road.
“West of the mountains we do a hell of a lot more out of necessity,” Mr Stevens said.
“The women are the first ones grabbing the keys and the chainsaws and heading out the door.”
One of those brave women caught the eye of Mr Stevens 15 years ago, his then team leader is now his wife Rachel.
“We have lots of mums, lots of women who start with us and then move on to other emergency service like the police, the defence force or paramedics – I’ve never met a more competent operator than Rach, of course I might be a bit biased.”
Mr Stevens said there is a job for everyone, including his grandfather the late Byron Stevens who volunteered well into his eighties up until 12 months ago.
His son Kim Stevens is the local controller at the Orange office, he has been a member of the team for 50 years.