From helping out at car accidents and during cyclones to providing lifesaving support during an emergency, volunteers around the Pilbara are always there lending a helping hand. As part of National Volunteer Week the Pilbara News sat down with volunteers in the region to find out what led them to giving up their time to help the community. For 29 years Joanne Waterstrom Muller has been part of the Karratha State Emergency Service branch and has taken part in road accident rescues and land search and cyclone clean-up operations. Ms Waterstrom Muller said she was deployed to the east to help flood-affected areas in March. “It was very different for me because I’m normally team leader and hands-on on the ground but being in an incident control team I was basically going over there and basically running the operation,” she said. “So I went over with six other paid DFES staff, I was the only volunteer. “We helped a lot of people and organised our food fuel drops to people in remote areas, we did damage assessments on properties that were in low-lying areas around the rivers and we worked with the air force and army so it was a good experience.” St John’s Karratha emergency medical team member Frank Nicole has volunteered with the organisation for seven years and said he was drawn to it for a sense of community. “There was a need in my community to become a volunteer and I was around a group of people who were already volunteering and so they asked me to be a part of that,” he said. Mr Nicole said he began his volunteering journey in Exmouth before moving to Karratha. “Coming into Karratha, I wanted to be part of our community and enjoy our community,” he said. “And so I get to be part of the St. John’s community, and you get to know a whole heap of people and you get to serve alongside but also socialise with, and I enjoy that part of volunteering.” Mr Nicole said while volunteering with St John’s could be difficult it provided opportunity to grow and give back. “The path to being a local is not time, but service. And so I think, be a local, serve your community and there’s a whole range of ways you can do that St. John’s is one of them,” he said. “But there’s a whole range of other ways you can serve and to enjoy being part of being a local in your community by doing that.” St John’s has volunteers across the region including Tom Price/Paraburdoo emergency medical technician Emily Bartholomew who said she has been volunteering for 5½ years. “I am a teacher by day and ambo vollie by night so I can help people in my community and I have a general interest in the medical field,” she said. “I find it self-rewarding when you have helped someone’s family member, someone’s friend, someone’s loved one receive help when they most need it. Also, you get to meet some pretty amazing people through the gig.” National volunteer week runs from March 16 to 22.