Rotarians amazed by community generosity 

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Mercury series

When Rotary Club of Corrimal members Noel Causer and Jean Thompson spoke at a Minnamurra Rotary Club meeting last week they were blown away by the generosity of its members.

The two Rotarians were there to talk about BlazeAid, an initiative the Corrimal club has been involved in since the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria.

Mr Causer, a Rotarian of 55 years, has just returned from Victoria where he has been helping farmers rebuild their boundary fences after this January’s fires.

Mr Causer has a farming background and regularly helps out on the ground after natural disasters in NSW, Victoria and Queensland as part of BlazeAid.

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‘‘We hit the ground running and go out as a team from a base camp every day,’’ he said.

Mr Causer  spoke to the Minnamurra Rotarians about items Victorian, NSW and Tasmanian fire victims and Queensland and northern NSW flood victims needed urgently.

Among those who heard the plea was Denise Tierney who recently sold her Kiama restaurant, Waves at the Beach.

After the meeting she pledged all the crockery, cutlery, cups and saucers, glasses and cooking utensils from the business.

This week Mrs Thompson and  volunteers have been washing and packing them all at her Corrimal house. The donations that are not on the BlazeAid wish-list, such as wine and champagne glasses, were prepared for a garage sale in at the Salvation Army facility at Tarrawanna on March 2.

The money raised will be donated to fire victims.

This month a Farm-Aid initiative is also bringing a family under stress to Wollongong for some respite. They will stay in a beach house at Towradgi which the club is able to rent at a low rate from a generous couple at Narooma.

‘‘We have had five families from Victoria come for a holiday after Black Saturday,’’ he said.

‘‘They all lost their homes. We once had a family from Cobar and the kids had never seen the ocean before.’’

More families near Narrabri have recently been identified for a similar opportunity.

‘‘I also take a team of members out every year on to a property [near Naradhan in western NSW] to do a week’s work on whatever the farmer needs doing,’’ he said.

‘‘During the last two years we have taken exchange students from overseas. It is just a marvellous experience for them.’’

Mr Causer and Mrs Thompson need a carrier to transport donated items to a Victoria community.

Anyone with donations or transport companies with space on a Victorian run can contact them on 42842361 or 42849480.

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