Disaster Relief Australia (formerly TRA) are continuing to aid both the council and residents of the Bega District, with ongoing issues regarding the clearance of burnt waste from private land. One of the key tasks for DRA in recent days has been the removal of debris from an easement behind 10 properties that residents had collected post fire. One of these residents was Graham Walker, an 8 RAR Vietnam veteran who was unsure of how it could possibly be cleared.
“I became aware of TRA (now Disaster Relief Australia) through my neighbour Dan (also a fellow member of the Tathra Country Club), who told me to call them after he received a flyer. I dropped into their (TRA) office at the Tathra Bowling Club and made a request for someone to come and have a look at the easement area behind my place.
Nick from the Damage Assessment Team came around and we identified what needed to be done. After he left, I looked at the bush from the easement level and thought to myself, ‘this is impossible, it would take a person a year to sort that out’.
Then, the next day up comes Team Rubicon (DRA) so quickly and bam! They removed so much debris. “
This day of March 29th saw the first day of work for freshly arrived Strike Team – Delta, DRA’s fourth team on the ground to date. Operating with 1 x Damage Assessment Team and 3 x Strike Teams.
The single days op count included 8 damage assessments, 4 welfare checks and 5 work orders completed. This represents a large workload for the team on the ground which they’re handling extremely well.
Mr Walker was among those 60,000 Australians who served in the Vietnam war, and received the Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star for his work as commander of a rifle company.
“I have to say how heart-warming this experience has been as a Vietnam veteran. That something favourable has come out of that period in my life. It feels really good and uplifting. As a soldier for twenty-one years I can recognise that the crew from Team Rubicon are so professional and safety conscious. As an old soldier I can see its done safely, there are no cowboys and its really pleasing. The speed of the response is amazing because there are so many other people worse off than me. I still have a house. Someone who has a house, I am a bit sensitive about people who don’t. Thank you! It means so much to me. It’s made such a difference!”
Graham Walker AM (Member of the Order of Australia) – 8th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, Vietnam Veteran