Life Members

Edward Jezewski - 2002

Founding Member
October 13 1946 - September 27 2022

Ed, Eddie, Ted Jezewski. Founder, Member, Life Member, Service Medal 2 Bar recipient, of the Shepparton Search and Rescue Squad.

Ed was also a long term member of the Apex Club.

Ed was a driving force behind the formation of Shepparton Search and Rescue.

He was the one that insisted the word Squad should be added to our name, as it's meaning was ….. a small group of people, frained to work together as a unit. He got his way aner it was put to a vote, and his reasoning won out.

It was then, we became the Shepparton Search and Rescue Squad.

Ed was very passionate about the Squad and showed this in his leadership, as well as his mentoring of new, and younger members of the Squad.

His knowledge of the use and maintenance of our equipment, was second to none.

He would often sit down and discuss with members, the workings of the Squad, and what it stood for in the community. These discussions sometimes, also involved a couple of glasses of bourbon and coke.

On some occasions, OH&S rules may have been 'bent a little', with common sense coming to the rescue.

When showbags were to be packed for fundraising, Ed and all of his family were there to help.

He used to turn into a real "Showie" for the 3 days of the show, even dressing up as a clown to sell the showbags.

Our Treasurer had a few little hiccups though, getting Ed to fill out the petty cash vouchers for our small cash tin float of $50. Realising public money had to be accounted for, he finally came around and got the hang of filling in the paper work.

An early example of Ed's work in the Squad….. one day while on the job at his Service Station, he watched on as a light aircraft did a touch and go landing, then come around for a second attempt, only to crash short of the runway. He called the Emergency Services, and raced to the scene. When I arrived at the crash site, Ed was wound up inside the upside down plane, holding the pilots head in a position to make sure his airway was open and he could breathe. In my observation, Ed saved that Pilots life.

As with all of Ed's involvements with the Squad, he always gave it his all-

We thank you for your service to our Squad, in one way or another, over 50 years. You will be missed by all past and present members. R.I.P. Ed

Frank Gaylard -2002

Founding Member

When he wasn't doing his job - driving around in an ambulance saving lices - he was volunteering with Sheapprtion Seach and Rescue using his expertise as a paramedic to assits in rescues as a founding memeber of SSRS, Frank has seen it all in his years of service - from the time the quad was predominately in underwater recovery to car crashes. " There was no such thing as SES in the early days' he said. "I was with the ambulance on a secen and called the rescue squad out to their first ever motor vechicle crash in the early 70's."
"It was a dark, cold night , a car had gone in the channel with six people in it and we desperately needed lighting." ""SSRS came out, put lighting up, assisted with tools, got the people to of the car and the rest was history" With their First crash rescue, came the first ever Jams of Life in regional Australia, a rescue tool used to free drivers and passengers from damaged vehicles after severe collisions. Through tall the developments, a consistent camaraderie and theme of humility remained with Frank and the squad. "It's something that you didn't look for a accolades for. Like being a volunteer in a fire brigade, you do your job and that's it." Frank said. People need our services and help and despite our small number of members, we never missed a call"

Gary Lovell - 2005

Gary has been a member for 44 years, and it was his love of diving that prompted a former member to ask him to join.

"I was asked to do a bit of PR work for them, working with microphones doing introductions and voiceovers for the squad," Gary Said. "I got to know the guys through that and joined. I believe Stan and myself are the only ones left from the past that dived."

When it comes to anything search and rescue, Gary has done it all. He's recovered bodies from waterways, assisted the fire brigade during fires and been involved in many, rescue operations. 

Which means he's witnessed more than his fair share of trauma. "You can't say you get use to it, but you learn how to handle it," Gary Said. "You look at the situation and say you helped - you tried to minimise the pain or be there for that person or their families when they needed somebody."

Gary has been awarded the Emergency Service Medal recognising his distinguished service. But it's the selflessness of other members that he's most proud of. "Eddie, Stand and Frank. The Guys that came before me and had a vision for the squad and if we didn't have the foresight or fight over the years, we wouldn't have one of the best rescue squads in Australia in Shepparton Today."

Stan Jezewski - 2005

In 1974, Eddie Jezewski told his brother they were short on volunteers at SS&RS, and asked if he'd like to dive. Little Did Stan know, he'd be diving for bodies/ 

"That was a bit of a shock," Stan said. Forty-nine years later and Stan is a life member, commander and mentor for younger volunteers.
With the support of his wife and children, Stan has juggled voluntary scuba diving, cutting cars and helping people while still keeping up with his job on the tools. 

"I was a builder, but when you got the call, you dropped the tools and went, and hoped they'd be there when you got back."

The most memboryable call? in 2020, Gary Lovell and Stan were sent to Greens Lake near Corop to look for the body of a woman missing for more than three hours. But they found Crystal Rexter alive, clutching to life to return to her five children at home.
"That's as good as it gets," Stan said. "We thought water search was a body search. Waves were four-feet high, crashing everywhere and we see hands together and knew she must be alive."

Over the past 50 years, Stan has endured the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but through it all he's kept his humour and optimism for the future of SS&RS.

"I dare say SS&RS will change further and we'll be cutting open hovercrafts. It's a bit scary where it's going to go, because I know where it's been for the last 50 years, but for the next 50 years, i don't know! It won't be my problem."

At the 2020 Australia Day Awards Stan was awarded Shepparton's Senior Citizen of the Year. 

Hans Van Den Bosch - 2005

It would be an understatement to say that Hans Van Den Bosch is as tough as nails. 

Since 1973, Hans has bought his grit and perseverance to Shepparton Search and Rescue in all aspects of the job - Particularly when the squad attended road crash rescues. 

"The police noticed the good lighting we had and said we'd be handy to have at road accidents so we did," he said. " We were divers, just volunteers. We used crowbars, jemmy bars, screwdrivers to get these people out of the smash. That's how it started."

Hans said the rest was history. " The death toll in Victoria is about 200 a year, but in '50s, '60s and '70s, it was about 1200 a year. We were falt out."

Hans quickly secured an equipment officer role at @@&RS and was involved in training the squad for road rescues and equipment usage.
He proved quite god on the tools, designing and constructing a scissor-lift in the 1970's. 

"That was our lighting tower and it took me about nine months to build," he said. "I used the equipment and premises at E.D. Parsons. I'd get there at 5pm and had to be out of there at 7am, because that's when they clock on and start work again. I worked all night to build this thing and it was quite elaborate at the time; to see it now, is still quite elaborate."

Nowadays, Hans' life still hasn't slowed down. He and his wife have their hand full raising their nine-year-old grandson full-time. 

Ross Wilkinson - 2017

Across more that two decades, Ross has earned more than a couple of notches on his belt in serving as the squad's president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and director of fundraising. 

And in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2018, Ross was awarded the Emergency Service Medal.

Ross joined SS&RS at the age of 38. After hunting for volunteer groups across the region to become a part of, he soon felt a calling for Shepparton Search and Rescue Squad - much to this wife's surprise.

"She sent me out to play golf or something, but instead i was persuaded to join," he said.

Between the many years of volunteering, Ross worked full-time running his own plumbing business for 15 years, raised a family and is now a proud grandfather.
After 63 years in the Goulburn Valley, Ross recently made the move to Bannockburn and has taken a step back from the Shepparton squad, although he has been dipping his toes into a quad a little closer to his new home. 

SS&RS vice-president Michael D'Elia said Ross was 'instrumental" in bringing the squad into the age of Holmatro rescue gear and updating the fleet. 

Among his many achievements, Ross had a hand in pushing for funding and grants, and the approval of using emergency sirens as an independent rescue unit. 

"Search and Rescue really is quite special," he said. "It's one of the only private organisations these days operating. It's had to grow in training, with equipment and more to meet a national standard - not just meet, exceed."