May 30, 2019
A community recovery night for first responders who have been involved in the recent string of tragic South Burnett road crashes will be held in Kingaroy on Monday, June 3.
Police, ambulance officers, firefighters, SES members, Council workers and others involved in the traumatic events have been invited to attend.
The event, dubbed “Shoulder to Shoulder”, is being co-ordinated by Kathryn Stevens and a group of community volunteers with the support of the Red Earth Community Foundation, BIEDO, Rural and Remote Mental Health, South Burnett Ministries and Cr Danita Potter.
It will be held from 5:00pm on Monday (June 3).
Community leaders including the Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington and South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell are planning to attend.
Ms Stevens said many community members were either directly involved in the recent fatal crashes or knew someone who was.
“There are many members of our community who’ve been asked to perform incredibly difficult jobs in very challenging circumstances,” she said.
“This event is an opportunity to unite together with our region’s carers and first responders, show our appreciation for their extraordinary efforts and make sure we’re all doing ok.”
Support agencies will be present at the event to offer support and raise awareness of the health and well-being services available locally.
BIEDO CEO Kristy Frahm said community connectedness was vital in challenging times such as these.
“Community spirit always shines through when it’s most needed and now, more than ever, it’s important for us all to connect with each other,” Ms Frahm said.
Commercial Hotel marketing manager Michael Monk, who is also helping to organise Monday’s event, encouraged everyone to come along.
“The care and concern being shown in our community is remarkable and we feel strongly that keeping connected with others at times like these is important,” Mr Monk said.
Grazing platters will be provided by The Commercial Hotel and drinks will be on sale at the bar at happy hour prices.
Mayor Campbell said there were a lot of people in our region who were hurting.
“Naturally, the families and friends of those who’ve been killed in these terrible incidents are grappling with an enormous burden, and I’m sure all our sympathies go out to them,” he said.
“But so are our police, our ambulance and paramedic teams, our firefighters, SES volunteers and Council staff who’ve had to go to these crash sites.
“They’ve been exposed to horrible scenes that may play on their minds the rest of their lives.”
The Mayor said he knew many people in the general community were upset by the tragedies, and wanted to show their support for the work first responders did.
The Mayor said the evening would be an opportunity for first responders to get together and realise they’re not alone, and for the general community to demonstrate their support for the work they do.
“We’re already providing counselling for Council staff who had to attend these events, and I’m sure other organisations are doing that as well,” the Mayor said.
“But I think a night when everyone can come together around this might do a lot of good, and that’s why we’re doing it.”
[UPDATED with correction. An earlier version stated the SBRC was organising this event]