Minisode - RACQ Foundation in Morven Part 1
RACQ Foundation volunteers and Drought Angels pack up and visit the brave farmers of Morven.
- CEO RACQ Bank Michelle Bagnall
- RACQ Foundation volunteer Jodi Neale
- RACQ Foundation volunteer Peter Duce.
Anthony Frangi: Hello, and welcome to another podcast from our RACQ Living. I'm Anthony Frangi. We all know how tough it is for our farmers at the moment, especially, in the small town of Morven in south-west Queensland. It's been drought declared since 2013. The RACQ Foundation took a trip out to Morven recently for the fifth RACQ Drought Assistance project, and it's here the RACQ staff volunteered their time from repairing farm machinery, assist with fencing, and making improvements to homesteads such as painting rooms and fixing taps. Michelle Bagnall is the CEO of RACQ Bank, and says the Morven community have opened their arms to the men and women giving up their time to lend a helping hand.
Michelle Bagnall: What we walked into yesterday when we arrived was a real sense of achievement amongst the RACQ people, and a real sense of bonding between the RACQ people themselves, but also with the Drought Angels. Fantastic to walk into what is not just a bunch of people doing really great stuff, but a bunch of people who feel really great about what they're contributing back to the community.
Michelle Bagnall: We've only been here just over a day now, and just in that day that we've been here I've heard lots of stories from the property owners, from the graziers, from the farmers themselves about the impact of having our people just there to help them. I would say, I've heard probably a number already where the partners, the wives in particular said, “I haven't heard him laugh for ages”. And, that kind of breaks your heart, but then you look at them, you think, well... they're working on their own every day, they're out here on their own, they're doing it themselves, and they're doing it alone, and what takes a bunch of people a couple of hours to do, I can only imagine how long that takes one person trying to do everything on their own.
Michelle Bagnall: They often say that running your own businesses is the loneliest place in the world, and I reckon you add to that the geographic distance, and the remoteness of what goes on out here, and that just amplifies it. It's got to be incredibly lonely and hard. Now, having said that, the sense of community that I've already seen amongst the people of Morven, and what they do for each other is, it blows your mind.
Anthony Frangi: Jodi Neale decided she wanted to join the growing army of RACQ volunteers, and also travelled to Morven to help paint a little girl's room similar in age to her own child. Jody says the feeling of walking away having made an impact on someone's life will never leave you.
Jodi Neale: To be able to come out, and actually experience this I think was actually going to make me a better person, which then helps everyone else at the same time. But it's to actually do something for another little girl and put a smile on her face knowing that she was the same age as Charlie. And how much she got out of, because we've just recently painted her bedroom which took six months instead of one day. Just seeing how much she got out of it, and how excited she was. I just, you know, to know that that could do the same thing for Tiggy was, it's priceless.
Jodi Neale: I recommend anyone to come out. The feeling of walking away, and just having that impact on someone's life is the most rewarding feeling ever. I actually feel really at home, and the people of here have made us feel really at home as well. If you get the chance to take this trip, and I highly recommend it. It's hard, and not everyone can get away from family, and work, and commitments, but if you have the opportunity then I would definitely recommend it, but even just, these people are more than happy to have people come out, and help, and stay, and those sorts of things, so if it's not something that you get a chance to do through work, it may be something that you can do off your own back.
Jodi Neale: But, I think from a work perspective, I think the RACQ Foundation has really hit the nail on the head. It's doing such an amazing job, and this trip has just made such an impact on just a small amount of people's lives. I know that it's not just this community. There's a lot of other communities that have been affected. It's just one little piece of the puzzle, but it's, one bit is better than nothing.
Anthony Frangi: Peter Duce is no stranger to assisting our farmers. After 28 years with the RACQ, Peter says his dream is to keep going back to places where help is needed.
Peter Duce: This is my fourth trip. I keep coming back, because I enjoy the experience of working in the country with the people. You really feel that they appreciate what you're doing, and it's a great experience, you know when you've done a job, and we're doing jobs for them that they keep putting to one side, and they're not able to get done. If we can help them by getting those little jobs done, or whatever it might be, it helps them a lot, and it makes you feel good.
Peter Duce: We could work on anything from a chainsaw, to a D9 Dozer or a big cat loader or something like that, and that's not the sort of stuff we normally would do as a mechanic, so the variety of stuff that we work on. It could be a trailer, or it could be anything, but if it's going to help them, and get them back on the road it's good.
Peter Duce: I've worked for the RACQ for over 28 years. I'll retire at the end of this month, and I keep doing it. And as I said, it's my fourth trip, and even when I do retire, I'll still put my hand up, and hopefully be able to come out, and volunteer, and still be able to do what we're doing here now. I really enjoy it. If anyone has the opportunity to go on one of the outback trips, I would certainly encourage it. The experience, and just being out there with the property owners, traveling out, living out here for the time that we're out here, it's an experience you can't miss. And if anyone ever gets the opportunity, put your hand up because I think you really should do it.
Anthony Frangi: If you would like more information about the RACQ Foundation, visit our RACQ website. I'm Anthony Frangi. Join me next time for more RACQ Living.