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Melba support Services worker's dedication in emergency community service

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

Melba's support workers are incredible people; they are known in the sector for their passion for providing excellent and compassionate support to the people we support.

What’s less known, though, is that their passion for helping their communities doesn’t finish at the end of their shift.

When extreme storm weather and power outages hit Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges last year, it left a harrowing aftermath.

Melba support worker, Ben Owen, a long-time SES volunteer, was part of the SES recovery effort.

“We've certainly had storms before, but this really was another level,” explained Ben. “There was constant wind for a long time and torrential rain too. It was incredibly challenging with so many calling for help.”

Ben rolled up his sleeves and joined the Emerald SES crew, initially cutting and removing trees off the road and driveways. Before long there were calls for rescues from people trapped in their own homes in the Mount Dandenong area.

Being part of the Emerald SES crew meant they were servicing response calls in Olinda, Emerald and surrounding areas - some of the most impacted areas.

The Emerald SES crew received 900 calls for help, which is almost the yearly average.

“It was that bad the first night of the recovery effort, there were other SES volunteers who couldn’t go back to their own homes. That was certainly a first in my 17 years’ track record of being an emergency services volunteer. I was lucky that I could get back to my own home at 3am that first night,” said Ben.

Well after the storm emergency abated, the incredible work of the SES volunteers continued throughout the year, most recently during the flood emergency along the east coast of Australia.

The people they rescued and the people who sustained damage to their homes, often don’t know the names of the incredible volunteers who answered their calls for help. But in this instance, we can tell them. His name is Ben Owen, and he is a Melba support worker.

Ben’s passion and commitment to helping our communities’ most vulnerable inspires us all.


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