Rallying the Troops

By Sonia Isaacs Clark

IN AN outstanding show of community-led action, members of the Southeast Queensland veteran community have rallied behind one of their own and activated a repair taskforce to re-establish road access along Beausangs Lane, Conondale.

On Sunday March 20, around 60 people including veterans, members of the Queensland Remote Area Tracking Group (QRAT) and concerned community members brought their boots, shovels, and machinery to a well organised working bee in an incredible display of solidarity and ‘people power’.

Currently three property owners access their homes through an unconstructed track on the unformed section of road along Beausangs Lane, including SAS veteran Rich Hungerford, his young family, and elderly mother-in-law. While residents had been concerned about the deterioration of this dirt stretch for years, the recent catastrophic rain event significantly impacted the state of the track, rendering vehicle access impossible. Forced to manpack supplies between vehicle access points on either side of the impacted dirt stretch, desperate for a solution, and greatly concerned about lack of emergency access, especially for his mother-in-law, Marg Allen, stranded on the property, Rich put out a call for assistance over social media. Rich said he was humbled by the generosity of goodwill and mateship from those who responded to the repair activation event which resulted in vehicle access along the stretch for the first time since February 27.

“We needed help to fix this situation, so we rallied the troops and did it ourselves. It was a very humbling experience to feel the true essence of real community spirit and mates helping mates as the day unpacked,” said Rich.

Evoking the informal Australian military creed that ‘no man (no one) gets left behind’ or in this case, ‘no nan’ in reference to Rich’s mother-in-law Marg, the veteran-led repair action appealed to a spirit of respect, dignity, and fairness. Rich said the day was all about community coming together and more poignantly Australians helping Australians.

“It was just incredible to see so many people turning up on the day responding to the opportunity to help someone else,” he said.

“This is what it is to be Australian, and I’d love to see more of this spirit in our communities!”