With the water depths too shallow for emergency services boats, but too deep for regular vehicles, Lieutenant Timothy Elphick and his platoon used Army trucks to reunite families separated by flood waters in regional New South Wales.
“The community had been isolated for three days, and after consultation with SES, we conducted an ongoing resupply/evacuation relationship between Woodford Island and the shops in Maclean,” Lieutenant Elphick said.
“It was a great example of the platoon’s capacity to plan as you go, remain flexible and use equipment we are trained on.”
Deferring paramedic studies for 12-months to go on operation, Lieutenant Elphick was deployed to rural NSW as part of Operation Flood Assist.
Initially located at Grafton, he completed his time at Lismore as a general duties’ infantry platoon commander helping with the community clean up.
“Receiving the feedback from locals that the help we provided was appreciated made it worthwhile,” he said.
Both Lieutenant Elphick’s parents served in the Navy, but not being a fan of cloudy water he chose to join the Army Reserves.
His mother, Karen, now a first aid responder with St John Ambulance ACT, was also part of the flood relief effort, helping in the town of Wollongbar, near Lismore.
Her team managed infection prevention at the Rural Fire Services base camp, supporting the other frontline services working from there.
“We had to keep on top of small injuries to feet and hands, ensuring they didn’t get infected from exposure to the flood water,” Ms Elphick said.
“We also assisted with hygiene control at the camp, keeping 350-500 people healthy.”
Before commencing her first shift, Ms Elphick found where her son was located and popped in to say hello.
“I had never seen him working while in uniform and being in the same location for flood assist was a great opportunity,” Ms Elphick said.
“As any parent will tell you, I am proud of his work.”