For Kevin Jones and his son Ryan, serving the community is in their blood.
For the past week the SES volunteers haven’t stopped, working side by side at Windsor, carrying out rescues and delivering supplies to the stranded.
“It’s been very hectic, lots and lots of long hours,” Kevin told 9News.
The pair are savouring a break in the rain, as they make their way along a glassy Hawkesbury River.
“What is it like working alongside dad?” I asked Ryan, “Any squabbles?”
He laughs: “No we’re very lucky actually, through good luck, not good management probably, we’re pretty well aligned in how we think about life.”
Kevin has volunteered for almost 50 years. In the 1978 floods he saved a woman who was six months pregnant after their rescue boat capsized in a raging Colo River. He held her head above water as they were swept downstream.
“It all turned out okay in the end but it was just a really frightening dangerous situation which highlights one of the reasons why people shouldn’t drive in floodwaters to start with,” Kevin said.
The baby girl was named Peta Kevin after the two men (Peter Minturn and Kevin Jones) who saved her and her mum’s life.
“They were very close to disappearing under the water and not coming back. It was one of those ‘fork in the road’ moments in life so we were very very lucky.”
Kevin and Ryan have already worked eight days straight and they’ll stay on shift until all evacuation orders are lifted and all roads are cleared. It’s tough, tiring work, but they love it.
“It was never a decision in my mind just as you became old enough to drive, you became available to be used in floods and bushfires. SES and RFS volunteer work just became a natural progression. I wouldn’t be without it and I don’t know any different,” Ryan said as his dad beamed proudly by his side.
“It’s not so much about being in the SES but just caring about others,” Kevin explained.
“Doing your bit to make life better for others. I’m very proud to be working alongside him any time.”
That’s the thing about natural disasters, they’re also a reminder of how good people can be.