A Woy Woy resident has been personally thanked by Premier Gladys Berejiklian for her efforts and service during last summer’s bushfires.
Lauraine Martinus, Team Leader of Red Cross Emergency Services Central Coast, was commended on her dedication to the community at a special event held at the NSW Parliament last month.
The announcement comes after a group of Red Cross volunteers from across the state received Bushfire Emergency Citations, which recognise the services of thousands of people who fought the fires and supported communities.
The seven volunteers who attended the event were invited to represent 636 Red Cross volunteers and staff across the state who are being awarded the service honour.
As a Red Cross Emergency Services volunteer for more than 17 years, Martinus said some of the scenes of last year’s bushfires were devastating.
“Last year I travelled down, with my team members, to the Recovery Centre at Batemans Bay (and) we were able to work with local agencies to provide support to those people affected,” Martinus said.
“I helped people register and linked them with support, from clean clothes, to a place to sleep, to financial assistance.
“I was able to listen to their stories of what they had been through and offer comfort, reassurance and referrals to other agencies in the area.
“A lot of people were devastated and feeling totally lost, all they wanted was a chat and some information.”
As leader of the Central Coast team, Martinus has led a number of emergency responses over the past year for fires, floods, and COVID-19 related crises.
In 2020 alone, Martinus worked in bushfire and flood evacuation centres, made over 400 personal support calls to returning Australians in hotel quarantine, taught primary school preparedness lessons, and delivered gel cooling neckties and messages to elderly residents on the Central Coast to prepare for heatwaves.
“It is a pleasure to be able to help people in their time of need,” Martinus said.
“That is why I put my hand up last year to provide telephone support to those people staying at quarantine hotels in Sydney.”
Martinus commended her fellow volunteers from the Central Coast team who also provided invaluable support and assistance to vulnerable residents.