BlazeAid Bombala lifting spirits

The efforts of BlazeAid’s Bombala camp have lifted the spirits of bushfire affected residents with a Rockton couple declaring the organisation has reaffirmed their faith in humanity.

Six months after Colin Bridge and Linda Kranz lost their Rockton home in the summer bushfires, the couple has praised the hard work and comradery of the BlazeAid volunteers who are helping rebuild damaged fencing across the Bombala region.

“We haven’t had much to laugh about lately but working with the BlazeAid volunteers has really lifted our spirts. They have renewed our faith in humanity,” Colin said.

Colin and Linda’s home was one of six destroyed when bushfires engulfed the Rockton community in early January. Along with the loss of homes, there was extensive damage to fences and loss of stock.

In the months following the bushfires, BlazeAid has been supporting landholders in the clearing and rebuilding of their damaged fencing.

Since BlazeAid started work on Colin and Linda’s property a month ago, the couple has been impressed with the volunteers’ work ethic.

“It’s hard terrain to work on but their work ethic is tremendous, the volunteers are a credit to the organisation,” Colin said.

Since the BlazeAid Bombala camp set up base at the Bombala Showground in February, the organisation has helped 75 landholders who registered for assistance.

Working in the bushfire affected communities of Bombala, Cathcart, Creewah, Rockton, and Tantawangalo, the volunteers have cleared almost 60km of damaged fencing and constructed 40km of new fencing.

Rockton resident Peter Heward has thanked BlazeAid camp coordinator Stuart Beazley and the volunteers for their help with repairing two kilometres of damaged fencing on his property.

“BlazeAid started helping our family in March and they have been brilliant,” Peter said.

“Along with Blazeaid’s help, and the assistance of the army, I’m not sure what we would have done without them.

“The quality of the workmanship has impressed me. They have done an excellent job.”

Stuart Beazley has thanked the community for their support.

“The community has appreciated the work we are doing in the Bombala region. We have been here for a number of months and I estimate we would have spent about $125,000 in the Bombala community,” Stuart said.

“I’d like to thank the individuals, sponsors and businesses who have helped us with supplies to ensure we can keep our volunteers fed and continue the repair works.”

Stuart said the 77 volunteers who have come through the camp have enjoyed working alongside landholders to rebuild fences.

“We have had volunteers from across Australia and from many nationalities. They have all worked hard and together we have been one big family.

Tantawangalo resident John Rocke speaks highly of BlazeAid’s work. John lost the cabin he called home and kilometres of fencing when the fires came through the Tantawangalo area in early February.

“They have completed the fence and done a wonderful job. The fence ran through all terrain. Up hills, down gullies, through forest and over rocky outcrops,” John said.

“It could not be called easy going but these volunteers persevered until the job was finished.”

John believes the volunteers are playing an important role in the region’s bushfire recovery journey.

“You form friendships with the volunteers. When they leave, I give then a USB with a copy of photos showing their work.”

John is not the only one who calls his property home. He lives with his best friend, Ned the dog, alpacas, sheep and horses. The BlazeAid volunteers have not only enjoyed working with John but they have also got to know his beloved animals.

“When the fire hit, the alpacas, sheep and horses fled. Miraculously they returned five weeks later.”

“I can’t believe they survived with no injuries.

With months of hard work ahead, the Bombala BlazeAid camp will continue supporting the region’s bushfire fire affected landholders.

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