June 4, 2019
A “Tree of Messages” featured at Monday night’s “Shoulder To Shoulder” support event for South Burnett emergency services personnel.
The get-together, at the Commercial Hotel in Kingaroy, was organised following a tragic month on local roads.
Compere Michael Monk said he hoped “a ripple of positivity and support” would go out into the community after the evening.
It was co-ordinated by local marketer Kathryn Stevens with support from the Red Earth Community Foundation, BIEDO, Rural and Remote Mental Health, South Burnett Ministries and Cr Danita Potter, from the South Burnett Suicide Prevention Group.
It featured speeches by Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington, South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell, Kumbia resident Jim Hancock, Cr Potter, BIEDO CEO Kristy Frahm; local QAS paramedics, Police Chaplain David Ferguson and the officer-in-charge of Kingaroy Police Senior Sergeant Dave Tierney.
Snr Sgt Tierney urged people just to “be there” and sit quietly with anyone affected, not to make judgments and not to quiz people about what happened.
Police officers, fire fighters and ambulance paramedics also attended along with members of local community organisations such as the Kingaroy Local Ambulance Committee.
Representatives from local churches and care agencies were also present to lend a hand.
Donations were collected on the night for the LifeFlight Foundation.
Michael urged those in attendance to tie a message of support, or a description of their feelings, to a small potted tree.
The “Tree of Messages” was shifted on Tuesday to the foyer of the Kingaroy Library so residents can continue to add ribbons and their messages to it until Friday.
Footnote: Media were asked by organisers not to attend Monday night’s event for privacy reasons. A number of outlets ignored this. We didn’t. However, we do send our sincere support and thanks to all the local emergency services workers.