Catherine Wuersching, a dedicated volunteer with Burrum Heads SES, embarked on her volunteering journey 17 months ago, contributing over 1500 hours to the community. Her decision to join SES was influenced by her son’s encouragement, who believed she would find fulfillment in the organisation. After a year of contemplation, Catherine joined with the aspiration to contribute to community assistance.

Volunteering has left a lasting impact on Catherine’s life, shaping her perspective and highlighting the significance of seemingly simple acts. She emphasises that volunteer efforts can bring closure to those searching for missing loved ones or support families facing the aftermath of natural disasters. Catherine’s experience underscores the importance of appreciating life’s blessings and being prepared for the unexpected.

A memorable moment during Catherine’s volunteer journey was her deployment to Gunnedah during a flood event. Witnessing a family returning to find their home completely gutted by floods was a heartbreaking yet humbling experience. The family, unaware of the disaster while their son was in the hospital, faced physical exhaustion. Catherine’s ability to help them in their time of need was a powerful reminder of the impact volunteers can have on people’s lives.

Encountering devastation and witnessing the gratitude of those in need inspired Catherine to do more. She shares advice for potential volunteers, emphasising that every volunteer, regardless of background or experience, makes a difference. Catherine highlights the diverse roles SES volunteers play, from assisting in severe weather events to supporting other agencies and conducting various operations. She encourages everyone, regardless of age, to join SES, as there is a role for everyone, fostering a sense of accomplishment and inspiration.

Describing her volunteer journey in one word or phrase, Catherine chooses “Surprising.” She never anticipated enjoying volunteering as much as she does and didn’t foresee acquiring new skills, qualifications, and forming strong bonds within the SES community. Catherine’s experience demonstrates the transformative power of volunteering, bringing unexpected joys and fulfilling a sense of purpose in making a positive impact on the community.