THE family of Ballarat State Emergency Service unit controller John Maggi may not like to see him walk out the door in the middle of a Christmas lunch, but they understand why.
Mr Maggi, who has been an SES volunteer for almost 14 years, was on call yesterday and was hoping not to be called on to help in an emergency situation in the region.
“It is satisfying to know that you are helping out the community at this time,” he said.
Being called out during his Christmas lunch is nothing new to Mr Maggi. During his 2011 and 2012 festive feasts, he was called out to help clean-up after storms struck.
“It was about midday on Christmas Day two years ago when the massive hail storms hit Melbourne and last year Ballarat had its own storms. Yes, the SES was called to help on both occasions and, yes, I had to leave my family on Christmas Day,” Mr Maggi said.
“There is a bit of pressure from the loved ones, but they seem to understand.”
That understanding led to Mr Maggi’s son Dylan also volunteering for the SES. Dylan and his partner are starting their own family and he will be on call as well.
“While it is Christmas, we realise (SES) is a service that must be provided.
“ There is great satisfaction knowing that you are volunteering to help others ... that is what we do. We are on call 24-7,” Mr Maggi said.
Typically, Christmas-New Year was a particularly busy time for the SES, he said.
“We are very active during the summer months, because of the storms, the high winds and, of course, the fire season.”