Maritime Union lends a helping hand to Nethercote RFS

SMILES ALL ROUND: Nethercote Maritime Union of Australia member Brian Ahern hands the $5000 cheque from the MUA to Nethercote RFS treasurer Mike Lackey watched by MUA national officer Mich-Elle Myers and Nethercote RFS deputy captain Ray Robinson.
SMILES ALL ROUND: Nethercote Maritime Union of Australia member Brian Ahern hands the $5000 cheque from the MUA to Nethercote RFS treasurer Mike Lackey watched by MUA national officer Mich-Elle Myers and Nethercote RFS deputy captain Ray Robinson.

Nethercote RFS treasurer Mike Lackey said you could have knocked him down with a feather when he received the phone call about a donation to the brigade.

The $5000 donation from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is not only very welcome and timely but also the largest non-government donation the rural brigade has ever received.

It comes at a time when the membership has been expanding following last summer's bushfires and the recent theft of valuable radio equipment, a chainsaw and defibrillator.

National officer with the MUA Mich-Elle Myers said when the bushfires happened they had members from all over the world contacting the head office and asking how they could help.

"People from the US, the UK and Norway - they alone put in $35,000 - put in huge amounts of money," Ms Myers said.

"We helped a couple of our members who lost their homes and now we're distributing the rest of the money."

With a focus on helping areas which have a seafaring connection, Ms Myers asked members where their help was needed. MUA member Brian Ahern, who works on the tug boats at Eden, mentioned the theft at Nethercote RFS and it was decided to be a most appropriate use of a donation.

"Mich asked me if I knew of anyone in need and I said these guys have had a really rough trot and lost so much," Mr Ahern said.

"We had $16,000 worth of radio equipment, portable radios and PMR radio which connects us to Sydney, stolen plus a chainsaw and defibrillator," Mr Lackey said.

He said there most people who die on the fire ground were older fire fighters who died of a heart attack and so having a defibrillator on board the truck was really important.

There had been $1000 given to the brigade earlier this year which had been raised from a special bushfire music night at the Nethercote Hall at which Mr Ahern was one of the organisers. The money was used in the provision of some portable radios which were then stolen.

Interestingly the the main radio which was stolen, had a locator built in Mr Lackey said, and the RFS head office was waiting for it to be used.

"The RFS knew it had been used once and then it went off the air," Mr Lackey said.

There is speculation that whoever stole the equipment may have done so to order and knew what they were doing, subsequently deactivating any technology which might give clues to the equipment's location.

The MUA's $5000 donation will be used to help finish off fitting out the new kitchen/training extension.

The MUA has also donated $3000 to Eden Marine High School towards new laptops for students.

This story Maritime Union lends a helping hand to Nethercote RFS first appeared on Magnet.

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