From neighbours, to volunteering together, to best friends

By Georgie Cardillo, Deputy Controller at the VICSES* Euroa Unit

13 February 2020.

Keith Barns and James (Jim) Cerini have been neighbours for almost seven years. As soon as Jim moved next door to Keith he jumped at the chance to meet his new neighbour and introduce him to the town.

Keith has been a member of the SES Euroa Unit for 51 years and it wasn’t long before he brought Jim along to training and joined him up as a member. It took a little while for our members to get used to Jim, due to his great science knowledge and eager questions always wanting to learn more. We even had to bring in a new rule when Jim joined, whenever the word ‘tangent’ was said, everyone had to stop speaking. This was started because Jim would always go off on a tangent about something very technical that was beyond the rest of the unit’s knowledge and we had to stop him and pull back to what we were originally talking about.

Image: L/R – James Cerini (Euroa SES member since 2013) and Keith Barns (Euroa SES member since 1969, CFA Sheans Creek member since 1967, and Euroa Ambulance Community Officer since 2005).

Jim has been a great asset to the Euroa unit and together with Keith they have created their own little team that turn out to callouts frequently, they never let anything hold them back. Members at the unit know that Jim and Keith will arrive late every training night due to their tradition of watching the kids TV show Shaun the Sheep together at Keith’s house prior to training.

Image: Shaun the Sheep and his neighbours. No copyright infringement is intended.

If Keith had never introduced himself to his neighbour seven years ago then we may never have had Jim as a member, along with two other members Jim introduced to the unit. Jim is now signing up to join the CFA Sheans Creek Brigade that Keith has also been a member of for 53 years. From starting as neighbours, a great friendship has blossomed between these two and they are inseparable now.

Knowing your neighbour is something so simple and easy and can reap massive rewards, whether it is lifelong friendships or even someone to put your bins out when you’re away.

This neighbour day go out and talk to your neighbour, have a cuppa and a chat and maybe they will even let you pat their dog.

In 2020, the official date for Neighbour Day is Sunday 29 March.

*VICSES is a Very Neighbourly Organisation.