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Rallying after tragedy

Suncorp Bank staff Brooke O’Keeffe, Jordan Schwarz, Kylie Davies, Grant Turner and Brett Young present the SES group leader Nichole Phillips with a cheque.
Suncorp Bank staff Brooke O’Keeffe, Jordan Schwarz, Kylie Davies, Grant Turner and Brett Young present the SES group leader Nichole Phillips with a cheque.

THE death of one person can rally together thousands, as has been the case following the tragic drowning of Parsons Brinckerhoff employee Michael Barnes at the Selma Weir in April.

In response, the company began a fundraising drive to donate to the SES for a second inflatable swift-water rescue boat.

Emerald SES group leader Nichole Phillips said the branch was grateful for the donation for the rescue team, despite the tragic circumstances behind it.

"It is much appreciated. It is going towards a piece of equipment that will definitely be utilised," she said.

"It is a smaller vessel that is better suited and easier to manoeuvre through the streets and river.

"The bigger boat is not easy to get in smaller areas. These vessels are."

Ms Phillips said it was encouraging to see people donate towards the cost of the boat.

The SES was among the first emergency service crews called in to search for Mr Barnes, but its efforts were impeded because of the inaccessibility of the existing flood boats.

Ms Phillips said the inflatable boat would enable more efficient search methods.

A $650 cheque was presented to the SES from Suncorp Emerald, whose staff have not been untouched by tragedy.

The boat is valued at $21,000 and any extra funds received by the SES will go towards assisting the Emerald SES branch to continue its community work.


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