Nichole Richardson says it’s the community that keeps her going in her role as NSW State Emergency Service (SES) Lachlan Region Controller.
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The now 45-year-old, based in Parkes, looks after six local government areas – Parkes, Forbes, Cowra, Weddin, Lachlan Shire and Bland Shire – that contain 11 volunteer units and 150 volunteers.
Her passion and dedication to the position, as well as exemplary service, landed her name in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, receiving an Emergency Services Medal (ESM).
“It’s very humbling,” Nichole said.
“On the Monday (June 12) I had that many phone calls, the Commissioner called me, the Premier called me.
“It was very surreal.”
Nichole is a third generation SES volunteer and joined the SES Botany Unit in November 1988.
“My mother and grandmother were SES volunteers, which is a little unusual for that length of time,” she said.
“My mother is still a volunteer, and a lot of my family are still involved, my sister is a volunteer and so is her husband.”
She transferred to the Waverley-Woollahra Unit in 1994 where she served in a number of roles including Local Controller, until her appointment as the SES LachIan Deputy Region Controller in July 2007.
The new role brought her to Parkes – almost 10 years to the month – on what Nichole described as a very cold morning.
“I came to this region to learn more about floods, I have a lot of storm experience,” she said.
Nichole was praised for her exemplary service as Deputy Region Controller for Lachlan between July 2007 and early 2015, when she was appointed Region Controller.
Nichole has been involved in the response of some major natural disasters over the last 29 years, including the 1997 Thredbo Landslide, the 1999 Sydney hail storm and the 2012 and 2016 Forbes floods.
Her incident management skills were highlighted in last year’s major flood event, which impacted the majority of the river systems in Western NSW.
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