Missing teen search wins award for volunteer crew
IN A small town, everyone is connected in some way.
Clermont is no different and when teenager Kaitlyn Earl-Rowe went missing from her family home in March, most of the local State Emergency Service members who lead the search knew her.
At times, up to 86 SES members from Clermont and across Central Queensland were on the ground, searching for any trace of the missing girl.
After three days, Kaitlyn was found alive and safe in what was the best outcome anyone searching for her could have hoped for.
During SES Week, the unit which coordinated the large land search was recognised for their efforts with the Group or Unit of the Year award presented during a ceremony at Korte's Resort on Sunday.
Clermont SES group leader Yvonne Scotney said the honour came as a shock.
"I didn't even know we'd been put in for an award as a group,” she told The Morning Bulletin.
"As the group leader it makes me really, really proud that all the training my crew has undertaken has been able to be put into a situation where it's not just training.
"They are really capable and a good team. I'm really proud and pleased for the whole crew.”
Reflecting on the search which secured their win, Yvonne said the Clermont crew was joined by SES members from Mackay, Nebo, Sarina, St Lwarence, Moranbah, Middlemount, Emerald and Rockhampton.
"You've got to make sure your people are safe, they're fed, they have somewhere to sleep when they come in at night,” Yvonne said.
"It was very draining, but I told my crew when it was all over I was very proud of them, the professionalism they showed.
"I'm absolutely so proud of the Clermont group and indeed all the other SES groups who were involved.
"Without the extra help coming in from out of town we wouldn't have got that area searched. Most of us actually knew the young girl that was missing.
"It was tough on everybody, but we got in and did the job and thankfully it was a good outcome.”
It was an even greater feat given the relatively new crew at Clermont, with the longest of the new members having only served three-and-a-half years.
Yvonne has been a member of the SES for 10 years and is passionate about training for any situation.