Today is Thank a First Responder Day. COSBOA would like to thank these incredible individuals for all the hard work they do in keeping our communities healthy and safe.

Small businesses are often the eyes and ears of a community. Local businesses are a place where community members meet, mill about, and experience life – including unpredictable accidents and emergencies. And as we’ve seen over the last 18 months, small businesses can also be victims of nature’s whims and caprices. Bushfires, floods, storms, and the COVID-19 pandemic have all been devastating.

In times like these it is our first responders who step in to save the day, whether it’s paramedics, police officers, firefighters, the SES, or many more. These are amazing, fearless, and under-recognised human beings.

Below we have four stories of small businesses who were helped by first responders.

Peter Strong and the Ainslie IGA

Back in 2015, COSBOA CEO Peter Strong, who is currently on leave from the role, was doing media at Ainslie Shops in Canberra when he started to feel intense pain in the chest. He knew immediately that he was having a heart attack. Peter will never forget how the owner of Ainslie IGA, Manny Xyrakis, called an ambulance straight away.

He said “Thank you Manny and thank you to the paramedics for working together to save my life that day.”

Lara Rose, Penrith Early Learning Centre

Penrith Early Learning Centre was in the inundation zone during the NSW Floods earlier this year. The centre would have been flooded if not for the help of the SES, who diverted water from the yard. Approved Provider Lara Rose said “it happened on a Sunday when the entire town of Penrith was being evacuated. We called the SES and they came straight away and stayed to help us, despite the evacuation order.”

“Thanks to their bravery the centre was saved from the indoors flooding, which would have caused the centre to close for repairs. There would have been a lot more claims and lots of formalities like that to deal with, but we had no down time at all. The SES are very courageous and selfless, putting themselves into dangerous situations to help other people.”

In the following weeks, the centre took the children on an excursion to meet the SES.

Lara told COSBOA “The kids drew artwork for the SES volunteers and learned about what happened. They were interested in the fact that the flood had brought in dead fish so far away from the river and enjoyed looking at the pictures. We turned it into a learning experience.”

Robert Doyle and Helga Danielsen, Ulladulla Lotteries and Souvenirs

Local Ulladulla newsagents Robert Doyle and Helga Danielsen from Ulladulla Lotteries and Souvenirs have paid tribute to members of the NSW Police for the support they received following on from an armed robbery which occurred at the newsagency on 29 April this year.


Officers from the South Coast Police District including those from Ulladulla Police Station responded promptly following an armed robbery in which an unknown man, armed with a knife and with a stocking covering his face, threatened a female employee before another employee intervened and handed over cash before the man fled the scene.


Robert and Helga said “we were still on the phone to 000 when the police arrived, which was a fantastic response. Our employees were uninjured but very shaken. The police provided support and showed great concern about the well-being of our staff and everyone involved with the newsagency. Thank you.”

Wade Death, Jack & Co Food Stores

Wade Death, 2020 COSBOA Small Business Champion and Managing Director of Jack & Co Food Stores, also had a thank you message for first responders.

In October 2019, Wade’s service station in Taree NSW stayed open all night so that the Rural Fire Service could access fuel and food as they battled the bushfires raging around the town.

He had this to say:

“Whilst our business stepped up to support the incredible First Responders where we could, it was those amazing men and women who worked selflessly and tirelessly to manage the fallout from the crisis and keep us safe around the clock. To RFS volunteers working through days and nights on end, to police and SES moving people out of 1-in-100-year flood waters, to ambulance and fire and rescue workers putting themselves in harm’s way to move whole communities of people to safer locations. We are truly blessed for their tireless contribution to our communities.”

On behalf of COSBOA and the Australian small business community that we represent:

Thank you.

Learn more about Thank a First Responder day here.

Extracted in full from: Thank you to our first responders (