THANK God for the Salvos – it’s a line we have all heard numerous times.
And it was evident again last Friday.
As temperatures soared, parts of South Nowra were in lock down as a police cordon was set up in the search of 30-year-old Nowra man Joshua Duke.
A large area of the South Nowra
bushland was secured, with officers posted on the Princes Highway, Flinders Road, Albatross Road and in and around homes in the Elyard Drive area south of Nowra near the Shoalhaven State Forest.
The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue
helicopter carried out an aerial search over the area for more than an hour, while the dog squad was also on the scene searching the bushland with numerous officers.
The lockdown continued for nearly three hours as temperatures reached 46 degrees.
Officers were certainly feeling the effects of the heat and then along came a saviour in a little white car with an offering of bottles of cold water.
Enter Ken Perkins from the Salvation Army.
The store manager of the Salvos South Nowra operation and co-ordinator of Salvation Army Emergency Services has on numerous occasions turned up at such events to feed and water officers involved.
He was greeted like a long-lost friend.
“Our role is to feed people in
emergencies, I cheat a bit I’ve got a scanner and hear things like this going on,” he admitted.
“Friday was extremely hot, I just chucked the Esky in my car and started driving around and giving the officers some water,” he said.
And the response to his gesture?
“They loved it,” he said.
It’s something he did for a number of hours, or as he put it “about half a tank of fuel”.
“We gave out about 144 bottles, admittedly a fair bit of that was used on the poor police dog that was really suffering from the heat and needed to be rehydrated quickly,” he said.
“The handler was also doing it tough in the heat.
“It was 46 degrees out there; it was a scorcher, especially in the bush.
“I refilled my Esky three times. I just kept driving around to make sure everyone was OK.”
Mr Perkins said he has a large fridge full of water at the South Nowra store and a caravan that is converted into a food van which stocks enough food to feed 800 people in one meal.
“We have done this sort of thing a fair bit in the past,” he said.
“It is part of our role in an emergency to feed people. We’ve had people down at Sussex working on the fires feeding 200 people for breakfast while we also had teams over at the Bomaderry Bowling Club when it was used as an evacuation centre during the recent fire emergency.
“Basically we go anywhere in the Shoalhaven we’re needed and also do relief operations for other areas that may have small teams and need help.”