Jack Van Voorst is 16 and this is his story
He is currently a member of the Warradagee Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade, a junior member of the Moora State Emergency Service and student councillor at Central Midlands Senior High School. On the night of Monday 28th of June, Jack was being driven home to Warradagee. Travelling along the Brand Hwy near Badgingara, Jack saw an elderly man beside the road. Jack’s mum, Mandy, was eager to get home as it was late. He insisted his mum turn around to check on the man. She was not keen, much like the dozens of drivers who had driven past the man. He insisted; she turned around.
Jack approached the man and his first aid skills kicked in. The gentleman was clearly disoriented and couldn’t explain where he was or why he was there. His car had run out of fuel and the weather was very cold.
While Jack cared for the gentlemen, Mandy rang the police at Moora and enquired about him. The senior constable on duty was delighted to get the call as they had just received the missing person’s report. The gentleman was experiencing dementia and had driven off, with his dog, from Perth and driven until has car had stopped. His family were very anxious about his wellbeing and delighted to hear that he had been located and were heading north to collect him. At Jack’s insistence, he and his mum remained with the man to see that he would be safe.
In the meantime, Mandy rang around everyone she could locate in the small hamlet of Badgingara to obtain some fuel to get the car started. While they waited, the gentleman was kept warm in the car and, by coincidence Mandy had just done the shopping, some food was given to his dog.
When the police arrived from Moora, they realised that the gentleman was calm in Jack’s car. Mandy was persuaded to drive him in to the station while the police brought the vehicle back. By the time the gent was dropped off in Moora, a late night for Jack and Mandy had become an early morning. For Jack’s community spirit and sense of duty to assist a person in distress the Moora police award Jack a certificate at his SES training night on 12th July. Sgt Vanderplank said that Jack’s determination to give help, when many people had driven past and ignored him, was the reason this was a successful missing person search and not a tragic outcome.
The Moora SES team is proud to have Jack on board, showing the best attributes of a volunteer emergency service member.