LaurieSetonSgt Laurie Seaton hard at work in the Men's Shed.

 

By Rhiannon Barrett

As Sergeant Laurie Seton reaches his 30th year in the WA Police Force, he is able to reflect on the many communities he has served and become a part of.

But like many police officers, Laurie’s continuous movement from town to town, found him unable to put many roots down in one place.

It was after he experienced some personal issues that Laurie was able to find a space away from work that was free from judgement but still had a connection to the local community.

The involvement in the Australian Men’s Shed Association, allowed him to meet new people and provide assistance for the wider community.

“At the Men’s Shed there were no demands. You could go work on a project, have a cup of tea and just relax,” Laurie said. 

“It’s great that you can walk in to any Men’s Shed and know you are surrounded with people with a similar mindset…meet the neighbours and have somewhere to relax,” Laurie said.

Laurie’s has spent the past seven years at various Men’s Sheds across the State and has fulfilled roles such as president and secretary, allowing him to give back to other community members.

He is currently involved in the Cranbrook Men’s Shed and has assisted many local groups through his work.

“In Cranbrook, being such a small community, we no longer have Lions, Apex or Rotary; so the Men’s Shed has become the defacto community service organisation in town, doing numerous jobs for the shire, community members and aged care facility,” Laurie said.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for WA Police officers to get involved in the community…it’s good for the community to see officers are human, and there is another side to them,” Laurie explained.

Through Laurie’s self-journey of reflection and realisation, he has been able to understand the importance of creating a network away from the Blue Family.

Laurie describes his time in the WA Police Force as “a lucky run”, however, officers work in a high stress environment and the long-term pressures of the job can be damaging. 

Dr Gilmartin, author of Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement, emphasises that officers should place as much importance and passion on their personal lives as they do their professional one.

“The Men’s Shed movement is massive across Australia and gives men both young and old a place to go for camaraderie, activity and skills sharing. Every shed has stories of men who had lost their way and were on the verge of doing something drastic before finding the shed movement,” he said.

“It has given me a good insight into the community and opportunity to get involved, in addition to the personal benefits and support network that have made my time here [in Cranbrook] so much more enjoyable.”