Temora Shire Council Mayor Rick Firman and General Manager Gary Lavelle presented a cheque of over $34,000 to Snowy Valleys Council Mayor Cr James Hayes in Tumut on Wednesday to help with bushfire relief, recovery and rebuilding.
Also present was Cr Cate Cross, Cr Cor Smit, Cr Andrianna Benjamin and Snowy Valleys Council Chief Executive Officer Matthew Hyde.
Cr Firman began his ‘Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal’ earlier this year when Temora Shire residents expressed their desire to assist bushfire-affected individuals in a tangible way, particularly those in the Riverina region. Temora residents wanted to be certain that their donations would actually make it into the hands of those affected, so the appeal was started.
The Temora Shire Mayor said he has been overwhelmed by the consistent generosity and kindness displayed by the people of Temora.
“Our region has been struggling with the drought but our people still rallied together to support those impacted from the fires and if the boot was on the other foot we know that the Snowy Valleys’ community would be there to help us,” Cr Firman said.
“On the very first day we had a little girl come in and donate $5.90 which was all her pocket money. A local man raised over $1300 by selling his watermelons around town and we had young girls baking cupcakes and selling them on street stalls to raise money to donate.
“We saw clubs, schools, farmers, businesses and individuals all doing what they could to help our friends and neighbours in the Snowy Valleys and it was the firm wish of the Temora community that all the funds raised be ring-fenced for Snowy Valleys’ residents who have lost everything.”
Cr Hayes said that the donated funds, totaling $34,329.35 exactly, would go directly into the Community Foundation for Tumut Region’s fund to then be distributed to those in need.
“The board of the Community Foundation is working to distribute assistance to those across the Snowy Valleys region who have been impacted by the fire and is supported by a subcommittee comprising representatives of The Bendigo Bank Adelong, Elders Adelong and Tumut, the Adelong Progress Association and Snowy Valleys Council,” he said.
“I have been consistently overwhelmed by the kindness and support displayed and how people from across the country have galvanized around care and assistance for those hardest impacted in our region.
“Our communities are resilient and with the support of people like our neighbours in Temora we will recover and be stronger than ever.”
When presenting the cheque to Cr Hayes, Cr Firman said that the two council areas really are like a “local government family,” and that this initiative has only strengthened their ties. Cr Hayes agreed, and said that it’s things like this that strengthen his “faith in the human spirit” and provide something to hold on to during the tough times.