Long-time Watsonia resident, Ray Dark, has been named 2018 Banyule Citizen of the Year. The award recognised Ray’s outstanding contribution to the Banyule community through years of service as a volunteer at VicSES.
A member of the VicSES for more than 21 years, Ray is one of the longest serving officers in the Northcote and Central Region units. His dedication to the safety of the community has been an invaluable contribution to Banyule in times of emergency.
Ray has held various roles in his time at the VicSES, and in addition to training many SES members he has responded to many emergencies including: the 2003 storm, which resulted in over 600 calls for assistance; the 2011 and 2016 Christmas Day storms; and numerous high-profile search operations.
He has also been deployed to different units in both Victoria and interstate to respond to emergencies such as the Black Saturday bush fires, Knox hailstorm and Sydney hailstorm emergencies.
Ray was actively involved in the Chaps and Chainsaws program where VicSES members gave up their time to return to some of the worst affected areas of the Black Saturday bushfires to help residents whose properties were still littered with burnt and downed trees.
Banyule Mayor Cr Mark Di Pasquale said this is an important award that recognises a person for their outstanding contribution to Banyule.
“This award honours and celebrates the achievements of ordinary people who do extraordinary things for our community, and Ray is certainly deserving of such an award.” Banyule Mayor, Cr Mark Di Pasquale said.
“Ray receives calls for assistance at all times of the day and night, and I for one am comforted that there are dedicated people like Ray who are so willing and selflessly help the community in times of crisis and distress.”