I feel privileged – Raeleen’s reflection

Disaster Relief Australia | February 2021

Raeleen dra volunteer

Having recently retired I wanted to volunteer my time and skills to help others. I joined DRA following a suggestion from my sister, also a DRA member and Navy and VicPolice veteran.

My first deployment was to the Adelaide Hills 3rd Wave. Everything was run like a well-oiled machine (or chainsaw!). I was one of the worker bees who, without chainsaw qualifications, was able to assist in cleaning up at two properties devastated by last year’s fires.  We worked in teams up and down the steep terrain each day. I expected to work hard and it was tough going. But it was nothing compared to how tough and resilient the property owners are.

The DRA members I met were very welcoming and had a wide array of expertise and experiences. Each day began with a briefing, checking equipment required for the job and a safety rundown. When we arrived at our job site, the property owners were asked what the priorities were and we got to work.

We had regular breaks, water, morning tea and fantastic lunches (thanks to local café owners).  I found the whole experience very enjoyable and rewarding.

There is still a lot to do and I feel privileged to be part of an organisation that is committed to helping communities in need. I am looking forward to my next deployment as there is still plenty to do to assist our Hills neighbours.