A NEW unit controller for the Castlemaine State Emergency Services hopes to help break down barriers for people to contribute to the organisation.
Victor Frendo has been an SES member for just over four years. He joined the Castlemaine and Heathcote units to contribute to the community.
Mr Frendo said joining the SES was something he had thought about for a long time, but he wanted to make sure he could devote an appropriate amount of time to his volunteering.
He came to the service after giving his time to environmental work and endangered species.
He began volunteering after his retirement in 2010, looking for opportunities to help out.
An early career as a paramedic raised Mr Frendo's awareness of the work of the SES.
Mr Frendo said in recent times he had become very aware of the what the organisation did.
He saw in the SES the opportunity to work with other like-minded people, to assist people in need.
Mr Frendo said an early career in the military meant he was draw to the work of the SES, with a range of roles and requirements.
His retirement came at the end of a varied career. Mr Frendo said he was in the army for about five years, then serving overseas, and working for the government.
Mr Frendo said he hoped to bring something different to the mix when he applied for the unit controller position.
He said inclusiveness was big on his agenda, as was succession planning.
Mr Frendo said he hoped to break down barriers, and give people the opportunity to add to the organisations work in any way they could.
"Lots of organisations ... they have been set in concrete structures. Modern day thinking is you should be breaking those barriers down," he said.
"At the end of the day, it's working as a team."
Mr Fendo said the SES was vital for the local community, covering everything from steep angle rescue to car crashes.
"You can imagine the big floods that have hit the area over the last 10 years, people getting lost, certainly and unfortunately motor vehicle accidents," he said.
"Within the SES you do cover such a broad range of things."
Mr Frendo said he wanted to thank the previous unit controller Paul Fitzpatrick, who had devoted four years to the role.
The handover ceremony took place remotely.
The Castlemaine SES has attended 275 requests for assistance in the past 12 months, making it the third businest individual unit in the North-West region.
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