An event at the University of New England this week celebrated the contribution of the University and members of its staff to the vital work of emergency services in the community.
About 50 UNE staff members are volunteers with either the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) or the State Emergency Service (SES), and the University allows them leave to respond to emergencies. The University also makes provision for student members of the services who may, for example, have missed an assignment deadline because of assisting during an emergency.
Many of those employees attended a “thank you” morning tea in “Booloominbah” on Tuesday 3 February, when Michael Eburn, SES volunteer and Senior Lecturer in Law, and Liz Ferris, Captain of Devil’s Pinch Rural Fire Brigade and Senior Business Analyst at UNE, Presented the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, with certificates of appreciation recognising the University’s support.
In response, Professor Pettigrew (pictured here) thanked the volunteers for their “very personal” contribution to the community of which UNE is a part. “I really appreciate what you do,” he said.
The University employs more RFS and SES volunteers than any other single employer in the area. “UNE has been very supportive of our volunteers, and we truly appreciate it,” said Inspector Ivan Perkins, Acting Manager of the New England Zone of the RFS. Joining Inspector Perkins at the morning tea was Elaine Towner, Armidale-Dumaresq Rescue Officer for the SES – and a UNE graduate.
Daryl Broadley, the Acting Local Controller of the SES, said that the support of the University for both staff and student volunteers was “vital”, and had “proved invaluable during recent events such as the 2006 hail storm, and when members are called out for Road Crash Rescue”.
THE PHOTOGRAPH of Professor Pettigrew (holding one of the certificates) displayed here expands to show him with Liz Ferris and Michael Eburn (foreground) and others at the “thank you” morning tea.