Busways thanks SES volunteers by going orange

Busways’ team went orange on Wednesday 20 May to thank State Emergency Services (SES) volunteers as part of Wear Orange Wednesday – a national day of thanks for SES workers during National Volunteers Week.

“Community volunteering is the heart of what makes us Australian and at Busways we recognise the value of volunteering and have a culture of actively supporting staff to enable volunteering,” Busways’ Head of Human Resources, Alanna Ward, said.

“Many of Busways’ employees volunteer with the SES, so on Wednesday our team dressed in orange to celebrate these brave SES men and women whose selfless contributions are such an important part of the fabric of our community,” Ms Ward said.

This includes bus driver and long-term SES volunteer Paul Burg, who played an instrumental role in ensuring bus services continued to operate during the disastrous 2019 bushfire season.

Paul Burg (centre) out on the job.
Paul Burg (centre) out on a job with the SES.

Mr Burg is the Local Commander for the SES in the Port Macquarie region.  Thanks to him, Busways now has a permanent seat on the Emergency Management Committee and was able to safely navigate bus services in the mid-north coast NSW region while receiving first-hand information about the bushfires.

“People at work started asking me how the situation was going with the bushfires and what was happening with the bus services, so my manager, Busways’ regional manager and myself worked with the committee and now our regional manager has a permanent spot representing Busways,” Mr Burg said. “Busways was side by side with the police, RFS and SES for the few months that the fires went on.”

As a 24-year SES volunteer, Mr Burg has been involved in some of the country’s biggest disasters.

“You give what time you can – I’ve been involved in a lot over the years such as the 1999 Sydney hailstorm, Cyclone Yasi in 2011 in Queensland, and the ongoing search for William Tyrell,” Mr Burg said. “I really enjoy being able to help people, seeing the successful end result is thanks enough,” he added.

Paul Burg
Paul Burg conducting training.

Mr Burg says it helps to have an accommodating employer when juggling his job and volunteer work.

“Busways is a community-centric family company that cares about people and the staff at Port Macquarie have been extremely supportive of my volunteer work. It may not always work out that I can get out to the scene of an incident, but we try our best.”

Mr Burg said volunteering is a rewarding and worth-while exercise.

“I joined the SES with a few friends, and it starts to grow on you – a few months pass and then here I am 24 years later,” he joked.

“Being a part of the SES allows you to give back to the community which is really rewarding. You also learn new skill sets as you progress through the organisation and it has a social element too, you meet a lot of new people and build great friendships. There’s definitely similarities between the SES and Busways – two large organisations broken into operational teams under good leadership that deliver a positive outcome for our communities.”

National Volunteer Week for 2020 was May 18-22 and Wear Orange Wednesday was held on May 20.

Busways bus drivers, workshop staff, and support office staff dressed up in orange to say thanks to our volunteers.

Busways staff dressed in orange to celebrate the SES.