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Inmates provide lasting tribute to NSW SES volunteers  

Inmates at Parklea Correctional Centre have put their woodworking skills to good use, creating lasting tributes for the families of NSW State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers who have passed away.

The NSW SES has had a long-standing tradition of giving the families of volunteers a folded NSW SES flag at funerals to represent the service they have provided to the community during natural disasters.

NSW SES Commander Awards and Ceremonial Unit Peter Lalor had been looking for a way to display the flags and was grateful Parklea inmates could come to the rescue with a solution.

‘We’ve been gifting a folded flag to families at funeral services for many years in recognition of service, but what do you do with it?” Mr Lalor said.

“I wanted families to be able to display the flag and thought if it was put in a nice wooden box with a plaque it could go on the mantlepiece and be a lasting memento.

“I’m very pleased with what the inmates produced and the impressive quality of workmanship, and I look forward to exploring further uses for their talents.”

Parklea’s Acting Governor Brian Gurney said Parklea had a range of workshops in a number of industries as part of its reducing reoffending strategy where inmates could learn new skills and spend their time productively, including a cabinet shop.

“When Peter came to me asking if our inmates could make a box to display the flags, I was confident we would be able to provide a suitable solution,” Mr Gurney said.

“He sent me some plans, which I emailed to our cabinet shop overseers, and they had something made up by the end of the day.

“Within a week they had made 12 triangle wooden boxes with a Perspex front so you can see the flag inside.”

Mr Gurney said it was fantastic to see Parklea inmates take to this project with such enthusiasm and pride.

“It’s their way to give back to the community, and some of them have benefitted personally from the help the SES provides during times of natural disasters and other emergencies.

“We are always looking for worthy community initiatives and we look forward to working with the NSW SES on this and other initiatives in the future.”