Eddie Cowie honoured for lengthy service with SES
EDDIE Cowie has devoted more than 33 years of his life to the State Emergency Service.
He has come a long way in the volunteer emergency service organisation since he first set foot inside its Yeppoon headquarters as an eager 16-year-old schoolboy in 1986.
As the now senior local controller, he has organised the response to cyclones, storms and floods and supported local fire response.
He has been a bringer of hope and a witness to heartbreak.
The SES, he says, has allowed him to be “an ordinary person sometimes doing extraordinary things”.
That selfless service has seen Mr Cowie awarded an Australian Emergency Services Medal in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List.
“I feel very privileged,” he said of the recognition.
“I wasn’t expecting something like this to come my way but others obviously thought me worthy so I was very much surprised but very much honoured at the same time.
“I look at this individual award being forged from a ‘team of many’, and I share it with those who stand beside me and wear the uniform.
“As they say, there’s no ‘I’ in team. I’m a tooth in a cog and without those other volunteers around me, I could never do what I do individually.”
Mr Cowie said while the role could at times be challenging and confronting, it was always satisfying knowing the SES had helped make a difference in the community.
The 49 year old’s experience and leadership has proven vital in countless natural disasters.
He provided support for the evacuation of Gracemere during the bushfires in 2018 and the operational response to Tropical Cyclones Larry (2006), Yasi (2011), Oswald (2013), Marcia (2015) and Debbie (2017).
Mr Cowie’s contribution goes beyond his service in the recognisable orange uniform.
He is a key advocate for supporting the advancement of volunteers within Queensland and Australia.
He has also created the concept of community-based resilience with ’Our Community Collective’ by engaging several groups who come together, particularly in times of disasters, to enhance community preparedness and response.
Mr Cowie said the SES had provided the perfect vehicle for his lifelong desire to help his community.
His incredibly supportive family and proactive employers such as the Rockhampton Regional Council and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services were also ingredients in the “recipe mix” for success.