Hat Head local and Army Private, Jake Sanders, was delighted to be deployed to his hometown as part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Operation NSW Flood Assist.
The ADF arrived last week as a part of the nation response to the emergency. They have been working in partnership with Kempsey Shire Council and under the direction of NSW State Emergency Operations Centre.
Pte. Sanders said he was honoured to come home and serve the people in Kempsey Shire as these were the worst floods he had seen in his lifetime.
“I kept watching the news and seeing how bad the floods were. I was keen to come home and help out,” he said.
Since they arrived last week, Pte. Sanders has been providing logistical support for the crews who have been working throughout the Shire.
His role has included sourcing and delivering tools, food and equipment to meet the various needs of locals and recovery teams working in the hardest hit locations.
It has been a busy time as the ADF has been dropping off food for communities and animals along Maria River Road, assisting with rubbish removal in Smithtown and Hat Head.
They have cleared up minor roads near Toorumbee and started the massive effort to clear Toorumbee Road itself to allow Council crews in to work on the slips that have occurred.
They cleaned up the boat ramp and wharf at Smithtown. They helped local schools. They have even been up in the helicopter inspecting beaches and locating loose barrels for oyster farmers.
Thankfully, it hasn’t just been hard work. On Easter Sunday, Jake and his unit, delivered Easter eggs to children throughout Hat Head, Crescent Head and South West Rocks.
“It was great to be able to get out into the community and bring some cheer to the people who have been so badly affected,” said Pte. Sanders.