There would be countless people who could thank the three Border rescue volunteers honoured for a combined 130 years of responding to emergencies.
Peter Adams (50 years), John Boyd (40 years) and Stuart Dye (40 years) were all proud to receive their certificates on Friday in front of their family and Albury and Border Rescue Squad colleagues.
Mr Adams started with the squad in 1966 and continued to be active, helping with maintenance and flipping sausages for the catering committee.
Mr Dye was the squad’s current captain, taking over from Mr Boyd in 2000.
He started as a 17-year-old when he fronted his own money to learn to become a qualified diver.
The volunteer had a few humorous stories from callouts to rescue situations over the years.
“A couple of young bucks went out one night and thought they got lucky but the girls were one step in front of them and we got a call in the early hours of the Sunday morning to undo their handcuffs,” he said.
“Two very naked young men were very embarrassed.”
But it was not all laughs – Mr Dye was part of the road rescue team and, as a diver, had recovered about 50 drowning victims of all ages from the water over his 40 years.
“I spent many hours on the bottom of the river, searching for bodies,” he said.
“We’re just going from one drowning to another.
“We’re trying to get our message out through the Respect the River campaign.”
Mr Dye said Mr Boyd had been a father figure to him over the years and although the older volunteer had health issues, he was at Friday’s ceremony to proudly accept the award.
He was also a diver, plus a diving trainer and instrumental in the Volunteer Rescue Association providing safety crews and divers for the Australian Formula 1 boat series.
Colleagues remembered Mr Boyd’s hard work and generous financial donations to the VRA, plus the mentoring he did with the younger volunteers he recruited over the years.
Mr Boyd told the gathering he had loved his 40 years with the rescue squad.
“I want to thank my family,” he said.
“It was something that I always enjoyed.”
They may not be paid, but Albury and Border Rescue Squad volunteers are vital to emergency services, according to one of the region’s top cops.
Albury Chief Inspector Kim Sorensen said police relied on the volunteers.
“I know that our troops would be absolutely lost without you guys – when we have the big operations on, you’re the backbone of what we do,” he said on Friday.
“The job’s finished, we get the glory for doing it, but you guys are the ones doing the work for us.
“For that, I tip my lid to you and say thank you and job well done.”
Chief Inspector Sorensen said the long-serving volunteers’ dedication to the organisation, without being paid at all, was “just phenomenal”.