Four O'Connor Catholic College year 12 students worked non-stop over the weekend, helping clean up the carnage caused by the storm that hit Armidale on Thursday night.
The boys are all friends and all local State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers.
The SES wound up a huge weekend clean-up effort on Sunday, after responding to 273 jobs in three days. Streets all over the city were left in ruins with hail and a tornado flipping cars, slicing through power lines and trashing scores of homes.
Jock Campbell was the deputy incident controller for the Armidale SES, and he said the students are some of the youngest volunteers on the books.
"They are absolutely great boys, and I think we only have one other volunteer who is younger than them," he said.
Willem Nillesen joined the Armidale branch of the SES two years ago with another friend which inspired Will Killen, Alex MacMahon, and Jack Simmons to join.
Both Jack and Alex responded to SES call-outs on Thursday night between 10.30pm and 4.45am, then on Friday morning, Jack went back in at 7am.
"We were doing 12 or 13 hour days," he said.
"And some of the nights as well - we would have put in about 40 hours over the weekend. I'll also probably go back in after school today as we still have about 15 outstanding jobs."
The boys mainly worked on sandbagging rooves to fix tarps and secure loose tiles for safety.
"There were a few homes though, that were beyond repair," said Willem.
All of the students' parents are now incredibly proud of their sons' commitment - but all were sceptical to begin with when the call came in about 10pm on Thursday.
"At first, my parents were reluctant to let me go because it was late and it was a school night, and when I said it was a tornado, they didn't really believe me," Jack said.
"The next day they came up and apologised after they had seen it on the news and seen all the damage."
Alex said his parents were also reluctant as he was meant to be studying.
"I got back in at 4.45am on Friday then went out again at 7am and didn't see them much over the weekend," he said.
"When I told them all my stories, they were really proud about the amount of time I spent volunteering.
"We've had similar storm events before with multiple jobs, but we have never seen anything quite the scale of what we saw last weekend."
Will said his parents initially weren't too keen on him being part of the SES but now appreciate his contribution to the community.
However, with the Higher School Certificate exams set to begin in two weeks, Willem says his parents are not allowing any more SES jobs until the end of next month.
With each of their career aspirations centered around some form of engineering, the boys say that as well as being enjoyable, the time they spend volunteering with the SES will develop skills to help them in the future.
"They are great skills to use in later life, and the experience matures your mindset," future astronautical engineer Willem said.
Will is thinking of getting into audio engineering and says a lot of the skills he has developed are around communication.
"And critical thinking in difficult situations, which is incredibly important," he said.
Alex is considering an aeronautical engineering career with the airforce and said everything he does with the SES is relevant.
"Things like teamwork and great overall fitness," he said.
"And it is a social skills builder as well as a great opportunity to give back to the community."
Jack wants to get an on-call position with the local Fire & Rescue next year and says they have told him the work he is doing with the SES should ensure that is possible.
And one silver lining in the weekend's catastrophe cloud was that it has inspired others to join the SES.
"We've had about eight enquiries about volunteering since the weekend, and five of those have submitted applications," Jock Campbell said.
"So we will follow up with them and hopefully bring them onboard."
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