Each victim of the St Patrick’s Day fires is living their own nightmare. Their lives, homes and businesses have gone up in smoke and they are emotionally drained. Their struggles are real at a time usually reserved for reflection, faith, families and fun.
The heartbreaking stories we have published in the past fortnight have tugged the heartstrings of even the most hardened souls. Put yourself in the shoes of those left with nothing other than the clothes on their backs and what would you want most?
The story we revealed this week of unknown ‘angels’ cleaning up burnt fences in secret was uplifting. As Garvoc landowner Wavealee Laird said “we were just so blown away that someone could just do that for us”.
It is one of the many Good Samaritan stories emerging from the pain of the fire damage. There have been groups of mates band together to pitch in for a day helping others, some they know and others they don’t. They don’t go seeking praise. There have been kind donations of the most basic necessities and generous cash donations.
No matter how big or small the contribution, all are welcome. All are making a difference to those in need.
In an era where the term ‘self-entitlement’ dominates, efforts from many over the past fortnight have been refreshingly uplifting. It started with the tireless CFA volunteers and emergency service personnel and has flowed from children right through to the retired farmers and workers converging to build fences.
This weekend, volunteers from across the country will be helping clean up burnt fences and whatever needs doing on properties across the region. It would be easy for them to be camping beside a river with family and friends but they will be bending their backs, rolling up their sleeves and lending a helping hand. It is this caring spirit the victims need most – the knowledge someone cares.
We all can’t build fences or drive excavators but there are so many ways we can help. It doesn’t need to be all weekend. It can be just for an hour or two.
Volunteering provides results not only for the beneficiary but the giver.
It’s easy to get lost in our own busy worlds but friends, acquaintances and strangers just down the road would really appreciate a hand. Forget giving an Easter egg, a significantly more needed and rewarding gift would be a helping hand. It’s a gift that will keep on giving and together we can make a difference.