Private Jeremy Ryan, an Army reservist and local resident of Shepparton, has spent time this week at Barmah, giving back to the community he grew up in.
CAPTION: Private Jeremy Ryan, centre, of 8th/7th Royal Victorian Regiment, assists the community of Barmah, Victoria, with sandbagging as part of Operation Flood Assist 22-2. Story by Flight Lieutenant Vernon Pather. Photo by Corporal Jonathan Goedhart.
A member of 8th/7th Royal Victorian Regiment, Private Ryan has been a reservist for five years. In that time he has been attached to operations Bush Fire Assist, COVID-19 Assist and now Flood Assist 22-2.
On Sunday, he joined 20 of his peers in Barmah assisting the local community to firm up a levee in a bid to keep the rising flood waters at bay.
Private Ryan said there had been tremendous support from across the region.
“It was really amazing to see people from throughout Victoria here, including Mildura, Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo, coming out to help my community,” Private Ryan said.
“They have been putting in the work, doing long days; waking up early and going to bed late; sleeping on stretchers and just putting in the hard yards. It is just really great to see that.”
Colin James, from the Country Fire Authority, also supporting efforts in the area, said there were Barmah locals on the ground all morning working on the levee.
“The ADF’s support has been excellent. The call for support was made at 9:45am and the ADF arrived at 11:35am,” Mr James said.
“Their arrival is a welcome relief for the locals to take a bit of a rest.”
In his civilian role, Private Ryan is a mental health worker. He said his time in the Army Reserves, and supporting Operation Flood Assist, had taught him important skills of leadership, teamwork and resilience, which had helped him in life and in his civilian role.
“I am really grateful for the opportunity to assist my own community. Living and growing up in Shepparton, and seeing the community come together to help each other out, is quite amazing and humbling,” Private Ryan said.
“I’ve really learnt a lot about resilience. People living in these communities may have lost their homes and yet they have still come out and helped other people in need.”