Steve Mortlock is an unsung hero of the community, a man who has nobly given his time to volunteer organisation SES to support locals in their times of need and equip others so that they may do the same.
And after 22 years as Commander of the Griffith SES Unit, Mr Mortlock has stepped to the side to welcome in fresh blood and fresh ideas to the Unit through former Deputy Commander Tim Laidler.
A firefighter of almost 15 years, Mr Mortlock 'wanted a change', joining the SES where he rapidly rose through the ranks of the well respected organisation to Regional Controller within his first 12 months.
Back then, the SES shed on the corner of Oakes and Harris Road in Hanwood was non existent, relying instead on temporary accommodation to house equipment and hold training sessions and meetings.
"It's been exciting to watch the unit grow over the years as we built out first shed, and grew our catalogue of equipment, vehicles and members," Mr Mortlock said.
When he first joined, the unit had four members, only three of which were active.
Now the unit boasts 45 members, with 26 currently active.
"My legacy would definently be how much our unit has grown," Mr Mortlock said.
"From humble beginnings our unit has grown to include a diverse group of people who make our unit as strong as it is."
When speaking about his time as Commander to The Area News, Mr Mortlock said there was one occasion in mind that he would always carry with him.
"I remember working in Blacktown during some particularly bad storms one year and there was a single mother with a disabled son," Mr Mortlock said.
"They lived in an illegal shelter in a backyard that Council wanted taken down but with our help we patched it all together and made it livable for them.
Mr Mortlock takes a moment to pause, visibly teary.
"This meant they could have Christmas and a home that year," he continued.
The flooding event of 2012 across the region also saw the Unit work overtime sandbagging properties, fixing damage and transporting locals to safe and out of floodwaters.
"The flooding was perhaps the biggest local event we have ever faced but it was great to work with Council on Flood Management Plans and see the opening of the East Mirrool Regulator to prevent any future flooding events," Mr Mortlock said.
And the best part of the organisation? No doubt about it that it is the people, always the people, at least in his view.
"What is so exciting about the SES is we have such a diverse group of people volunteering their time to benefit the local community," Mr Mortlock said.
"I find it so wonderful to see volunteers get trained up and develop new skills and they grow in to themselves and in confidence, they overcome phobias and they become qualified.
"It is truly remarkable."
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