In Loving Memory of our BlazeAid Volunteers
Vale Vicki Samin
Vicki arrived in Monto, Queensland in March 2013 to volunteer at Blaze Aid. When Dave and Jan Binskin left in March, she then co-ordinated the camp with Kim Saunders until April. Vicki returned at the end of April and continued co-ordinating until its closure in June.
We first met Heather and Graham Drury when they joined us at Brickhouse Station near Carnarvon, West Australia to volunteer with BlazeAid. The stations along the Gascoyne had dealt with a major flood emergency in early 2011, with great damage ensuing. The owners were holidaying for a week in South Australia so it was only the four of us for that time. We got to know Heather and Graham well as we worked together, ate together and shared the occasional Happy Hour. One of our tasks was to repair garden damage to the Station’s enormous garden prior to the Long Table lunch being held for 120 people. We had a lovely time working there together and then received free tickets to the Long Table Lunch.
We then met up with Heather and Graham again when we received a call from the Noons in Dunkeld Queensland where we had worked with BlazeAid during the Maranoa flood 2012. They advised us that their cousins Eric and Sue Noon had sustained 5000acres damage after a bush fire on their property. Although this wasn’t technically BlazeAid we were given permission to use tools and equipment still there from the BlazeAid camp. We rang all our BlazeAid friends who we knew were in Southern Queensland and most were tied up with grandchildren and school holidays ore preparing for the upcoming rally. Heather and Graham’s response was that they would immediately do uturn at Rockhampton to join us. Once again it was the four of us and another BlazeAid friend, Pete, working and camping together. We have great memories of this 10 day period described by Heather as “BlazeAid at it’s Bloody Best!
Cheryl You Kee Jan Gursanscky
Bill Begley of Kilmore, Vic passed away in December 2009. Fondly remembered as Gopher Bill, he was instrumental in the early days of BlazeAid, answering the phone with his well-known cry of “This is Bill.” He was willing to do anything he could for BlazeAid, and was much-loved for his warm and friendly disposition amongst the volunteers .
Kent Harris of Rainbow Beach, Qld, passed away in March 2011. Most people remember Kent as the fun, friendly bloke with the cheeky smile. Kent had a great sense of humour and Kev’s Shed often resounded to the sounds of laughter brought about by his jokes. Bev and Kent volunteered for many weeks to help rebuild fences with BlazeAid after Black Saturday in 2009.
Ray Norman of Devonport East, Tas passed away in November 2012. Ray was passionate about volunteering with BlazeAid at Kev’s Shed and he was often heard on ABC radio encouraging others to join. Whenever his medical treatment allowed, he caught the ferry across from Tassie to spend time with BlazeAid.
Glen Clement of Torquay, Vic passed away in December 2012. Glen joined BlazeAid with the Freemasons after Black Saturday, and was a regular volunteer at Kev’s Shed. After the floods, Glen came to Bridgewater and Charlton in 2011, and Wagga Wagga in 2012. In between his other community projects, Glen also coordinated a BlazeAid fencing project at Breakaway Camps in 2012.
Ken Morgan of Elmore, Vic, passed away in March 2013. Ken was an enthusiastic volunteer with BlazeAid in 2011 at our Bridgewater basecamp, and was popular with everyone he worked with. He was planning to volunteer again with BlazeAid this year, when tragically, he was killed in an accident.
Noel Causer of Coromal, NSW, passed away in May 2013. Noel volunteered at Kev’s Shed in 2009 with a couple of friends, then volunteered again on a number of other occasions. He also encouraged his Rotary Club to support BlazeAid through donations, and worked to help us in whatever way he could. Noel was a quietly spoken, but very cheery and helpful man, who enjoyed sharing his poetry with others in Kev’s Shed.
Paul Tobin of Nowra, NSW, tragically killed in an accident in May 2013. Paul came to BlazeAid at the age of 41, looking for a new start in life. In the 6 weeks he was at Bookham he was a willing worker, and he took time to teach and mentor students who were volunteering with us. Paul made a lasting impression on the Bookham community, and he found a local job after the basecamp closed.
Long Bob is a BlazeAid Legend. He first came to BlazeAid at Kev’s Shed in 2009, where he was known as “Bob from Tamworth.” He eventually became know to one and all as Long Bob.
Steph Hill of Wagga, worked at the Bookham Blazeaid camp in 2013 for approximately 10 weeks. She joined the camp as willing worker and eventually became a team leader. She was very hard working and had excellent rapport with all the volunteers and the farmers she worked with at Blazeaid. Outside of BlazeAid, Steph was a relief nurse, working in the Birdsville area and remote aboriginals communities in the outback. She will be sadly missed by all who crossed her path during her short life.
Our dear friend – and one of the pioneering BlazeAid 09 volunteers at kilmore east after the Black Saturday Victorian fires – Russ Lamb from Bundaberg has passed on to ‘ join the fencing team up above’ Has anyone a photo of Russ fencing pls to post on this site please?
These volunteers were well-loved and are dearly remembered within the BlazeAid family. We miss them and their commitment to BlazeAid and to helping disaster-affected communities.