Event to give thanks to our humble heroes
CAUGHT in the epicentre of a fire unlike anything he’d ever seen before, Brett ‘Boaty’Boatfield was stunned as he watched selfless volunteers head out day after day.
Mr Boatfield, who is president of the Stanthorpe Agricultural Society, quickly set-up the Stanthorpe showgrounds as an evacuation centre for animals on the Friday of September 6, but soon saw the centre turn into a place of asylum as the fires grew more and more out-of-control.
“People were on edge,” Mr Boatfield said.
“They were fairly frighted, no one knew where it was going to go or could go.”
Helping families who had barely escaped with the clothes on their back, Mr Boatfield and his team also helped feed emergency services daily.
It was there the true grasp of their heroics hit him.
“When they came in for a feed, they were all so tired, they themselves were surprised by the intensity,” he said.
“I live at Amiens and couldn’t get through on Friday, but when I went in there on the Saturday, I was driving past the houses they protected, where fire burnt right up to the wall and doors,” he said.
“It was so fast moving, what they did is truly a credit to them.”
As the fires died down, Mr Boatfield moved onto turning the showgrounds into a donation hub but the efforts of the firefighters lingered with him.
“Australia is an island, it could have burnt until it hit the water,” he said.
“If they hadn’t been as quick to respond, Stanthorpe would have been in trouble and lost a lot more.”
That’s when Mr Boatfield realised he had to say thanks publicly.
Along with Southern Downs Regional Council, Heritage Bank and Elders, The Stanthorpe Agricultural Society will hold the Stanthorpe Bushfires Community Thank You this weekend.
With live entertainment, food and drinks, and classic cars, Mr Boatfield hoped it would help show the emergency services just how much the wider community was grateful for their help
“Around town, all emergency services are just up on the pedestal at the moment, they really worked together to do a fantastic job,” he said
“You can’t live in a community like this without them, simple as that.”
As for Mr Boatfield, he hoped it would be his chance to thank them personally for saving the town he loves.
“ I hope I get to shake everyone’s hands that turns up.”
The free event is from noon until 10pm on October 5 at the Stanthorpe Showgrounds, High St. For more information, contact 0428 195 202 or events@stan agsociety.com.au.