A Bit of Hope and Joy – Minderoo Volunteer Leigh van der Merwe

Disaster Relief Australia | March 2021

minderoo volunteer leigh van der merwe

My folks live on Kangaroo Island. My family and I got over there a couple of weeks after the fires. I got to see the devastation and hear the stories firsthand.

I understand the amount of help these people need. When I heard about the call out for volunteers through my work (Fortesque Metals Group), I knew I would do whatever I could no matter what the task was. These experiences are just unimaginable for someone who lives in suburbia.

I love my job, but it is nice to get out in the bush and jump in with a team and asses something that looks insurmountable, but be able to knock it off. I really like working with people with all different skill sets and experiences – to do whatever needs to be done. My wife is extremely proud of me getting out and doing this volunteer work. Hats of to her, she’s taking on extra work between her job and the kids to enable me to do this!

A highlight of my time so far occurred at a job where we were tasked with sifting to find an important bit of family jewellery for a lady. We found some rings and I won’t forget the look on her face. I could tell it meant something – a bit of hope and joy and a bit of a spark to the day. Out of everything that was burnt out, it was something that wasn’t lost.