Barmed Postie delivering goods: Bland Shire

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A famous Disney Children’s song reminds us that “no matter if it rains or snows, the mail must go through” and Covid-19 has added an additional challenge to our resilient Bland Shire postal workers such as Barmedman’s Steve Raine.

The “Barmed Postie”, as he is affectionately known throughout the district, was among the inaugural round of winners of The Gratitude Project – a joint initiative of Evolution Mining and Bland Shire Council to recognise the essential workers, quiet achievers and good Samaritans who have helped keep the local community going throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through rain, hail, drought, flooding and over the last 18 months of Covid-19, Mr Raine and the resilient fraternity of local postal workers have overcome a mountain of challenges to continue to service our local communities and ensure the mail does indeed “go through”.

As well as processing and delivering the mail, Mr Raine and partner Linda Muirhead also run the Barmedman General Store and Takeaway which provides dine in and takeaway food and grocery items for the local community. They also deliver scripts, grocery items and hot meals for isolated, elderly and infirmed Barmedman residents.

An ongoing and reliable postal service, general store and takeaway has been critical in keeping the Barmedman community informed, connected and safe throughout the various stages of Covid-19 – during which time Mr Raine has hardly missed a day of work.

“The General Store and Post Office is the hub of the town where people have been able to safely meet and interact,” Mr Raine said.

“We have also been able to keep an eye on people’s health and if we haven’t seen a regular for a day or two we will phone them or call in and conduct a welfare check … on a couple of occasions I have had to call an ambulance.”

With the integral role the Post Office and General Store plays in the community comes great responsibility and maintaining a COVID safe business has been both a challenge and a top priority for Mr Raine.

“Because everyone in town is in contact with us, we have to make ensure all the right practices and processes are in place to protect the community,” Mr Raine said.

Mr Raine was one of 10 inaugural winners of the Gratitude Project alongside Rachel Trehearn (Armstrong Toyota), Cynthia Judd (R & G Stephenson’s Funeral Services), Charmaine Cowen (Evolution Mining), La’shey Cattle (Little Wattle), Michelle Steele (West Wyalong Rocks), Kay McKenzie (Bernardi’s), Nathan Marinkovic (Bernardi’s) and Christine Hurst (West Wyalong Bowling Club) who all received $100 Why Leave Town Cards courtesy of Evolution and Bland Shire Council.

A second draw was conducted by Bland Shire Mayor Brian Monaghan and General Manager, Ray Smith on Wednesday with the winners being – Dr Wail El Waili (West Wyalong Medical Centre), Mick Hopper (Evolution Mining), Ashley Nicholson (Bland Pre School), Phil Nielsen (St Mary’s School), Tamara Humphries (Tamara’s), Dr Huda Matrook (West Wyalong Medical Centre), Julie Lancaster (West Wyalong Medical Centre), Marika Bishop (West Wyalong High School), Megan Daly (Bland Pre School) and Trevor Lanyon (Can Assist).

Due to the overwhelming popularity of the initiative, Evolution Mining Specialist – Community and External Relations, Steff Wills, announced The Gratitude Project will extend to a third week with nominations now open. People who were nominated but not drawn out during week one and two will remain in the draw.

“The next draw will take place on Wednesday 29 September and we encourage everyone to keep the entries coming in,” Ms Wills said.

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