IT STARTED out a bit like a dare for Tamworth volunteer Campbell Wilkie.
A mate encouraged him to have a go and sign up to the local branch of the State Emergency Service (SES), and Campbell thought he would give it a crack.
Now, he's been part of the Tamworth rescue team for the past nine months, and said he is "loving it".
As summer heat descends on the city and a wild storm season is forecast, the service is calling on more volunteers to lend a hand.
Campbell started with the roughly 15-strong volunteer team in Tamworth when the country was on the brink of the coronavirus crisis.
But, the crews pride themselves on being ready for anything, and Campbell stuck with his training through a tumultuous year.
"It's been so good, we all enjoy each other's company and it's like one big family coming in as one and working together to get jobs done," he said. "We're always open to new faces to join in the volunteering."
Campbell said the October hailstorm stands out for him.
"The large hail storm event is one that stands out because that was my first job that I went out to since I was a volunteer and that was so much fun - you learn so much more doing things hands on," he said.
"We had about 95 jobs in the last storm event in Tamworth alone."
New England North West zone commander Superintendent Mitch Parker said drawing fresh faces in, is important.
"About 85 per cent of the workforce during the last big storm event was volunteers," he said.
Superintendent Parker said in freak events it was important to have "as many people as possible" on hand.
"There is no set number and we work with what we have but the more people on the ground and skilled up makes it safer for everyone - the person being rescued, the rescuer and the people around," he said.
The region's boss said he was proud of the way the local team works as one and welcomes new faces.
"That's the best part about it - everyone comes from a different walk in life and they all come together for a common goal and that's service to the community," he said.
For information on signing up, visit the SES website
The story 'Like one big family': new recruit thriving in volunteer rescue role first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.