An 87-year-old long-serving SES volunteer has hung up the boots and the fluoro orange uniform following 33 years of coming to the rescue of others in emergencies. Last Monday Bob Brooks retired from the Geraldton-Greenough SES unit, but not before receiving a large send off with a plaque and certificate of appreciation signed by members recognising his three decades plus of community service. Mr Brooks joined WA SES in 1989 spending the majority of his time at the Greater Geraldton unit. Mr Brooks said it was rewarding being in the company of those willing to help the community. SES members also honoured Mr Brooks for his long contribution to the Geraldton-Greenough unit at the Moonyoonooka headquarters with a bright orange retirement cake. The 87-year-old said while he had helped out in many ways during his time with the SES — including fixing storm damaged homes — his deepest satisfaction came from being involved in search and rescue. He recalled “vivid memories” of his first time as a team leader during a search for a missing trawler off Geraldton more than 20 years ago. The aerial search hadn’t been successful and the pilot was preparing to return to base when Bob pressed him to sweep outside of the assigned search area. Ten minutes later they found the missing boat. He remembered the seasick fishermen had been incapacitated for three days at sea with a flat battery and no engine. “It is a privilege to help find someone who is lost or in need of rescue,” Mr Brooks said. “Volunteering helps you and it helps others to know that there are volunteers, not just in case of an emergency but in everyday life, because it encourages others to give back to the community, not just take from it.” Mr Brooks received the National Service Medal with clasp and the WA State Emergency Service Medal in December 2022. He was also handed a Geraldton-Greenough SES life member award. Local manager Ross Jones said it was typical of the retired mining engineer’s sense of humour to cheekily pretend to cut his retirement cake with a toy chainsaw and it was a nod to his skill in using the real thing throughout the years. “Bob is a beloved member of the unit, always giving his time to share his skills and experience with the younger members,” he said. “Bob will always be welcome at the unit anytime he wants to visit, our members have great affection for him.” SES members can qualify in more than 27 skills courses and competencies including vertical rescue, storm damage, roof safety systems, chainsaw operation, off-road driving, managing injuries, casualty transfer systems, radio communications, map reading and more. It’s safe to say Mr Brooks is qualified in most, if not all, and used the skills in the SES and throughout his professional and personal life.