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Bushfire relief comes from locals like Alpine Truss

District 9790 Rotarians Anne Reid (Alexandra), Marg Crisp (Wodonga Central), Geoff Dinning (Appin Park) and Brian Peters (District Governor) with Alpine Truss Wangaratta MD George Prothero. photo: Kieren Tilly

Alpine Truss Wangaratta has donated $15,000 to assist with bushfire recovery in North East Victoria, some of which will go towards stationery packs to help children get back to school. Basic necessities such as the back to school packs for children will take a load off parents’ minds with the education year about to start. Source: Wangaratta Chronicle written by Steve Kelly

Through the Rotary Club of Appin Park and the Rotary District 9790, a bushfire relief project that has support of other service clubs, Alpine Truss managing director George Prothero made the donation and encourages other local business people to give what they can to help people who are doing it tough.

A lot of the support will go to the hardest hit areas at Corryong and surrounding towns, people who have been impacted to varying degrees.

“I saw in the news how bad these people are doing it, and even before that with the drought, so I had in mind I was going to do something anyway,” Mr Prothero said.

“Hopefully it might start some bigger donations around the area.

“I wanted to make the donation through Rotary to make sure it does go to the people who really need it.”

As part of the relief project former Corryong local school teacher Marg Crisp of Rotary Wodonga Central visited her home town on Wednesday and she reports that residents are still going through the grieving stage about what they’ve lost.

“They are very resilient, I saw so many friends up there on Wednesday and it’s quite clear that some are okay and they’re just getting on with their lives, some were evacuated out and are now back home,” Ms Crisp said.

“They seem to be okay, but the big issue will be how they support those who have lost a whole lot more.”

Many people are confused about where to start in the recovery phase with insurance assessments still yet to be carried out in the fire-affected areas.

“If we spend enough time talking to them, we can find out what some of the issues are and what they’re dealing with,” she said.

“We may not be able to resolve it for them but at least it starts the conversation about what they need, and we can identify what will be the second and third steps.”

Some people have insurance, but others do not, and one lady told Ms Crisp of her plight.

“She said ‘we’re poor farmers, we couldn’t afford our insurance, we’ve lost all our pasture, we’ve lost all our fodder, and we’re trying to stand our fences back up,” Ms Crisp said.

Rotary Club of Alexandra’s Anne Reid assisted after the Black Saturday bushfires at King Lake and she has played a part in initiating the back to school packs.

The packs will be available to all children in the area who live in town and in rural settings who have all been impacted to varying degrees.

“Psychologically they have all been affected and the parents have been affected and we have across the board been working with the newsagent to supply the packs,” Ms Reid said.

“I have spoken to a psychologist and the first thing you have to get people to do is something that brings them back to normality, but it’s a new normality in these circumstances.”

Alpine Truss is also donating all of its trucks to cart hay up to drought and fire-affected areas.