The Maldon and district community has rallied around the family of the late Mark Brasser to make his final dream a reality.
The proud family man and respected community member died suddenly at his Baringhup farm on January 8.
Before his death, Mark was planning to take hay to fire-affected farmers in the High Country who had lost everything.
Mark’s wife Kim and son Aidan set up a MyCause donation site in the hope of raising about $2000 to make his wish a reality but what happened next completely exceeded their expectations and demonstrated the power of community and the Aussie spirit.
Family friend Mandy Long said Kim and Aidan’s fundraiser quickly exceeded their desired target so the bar was raised to $20,000.
The donations came pouring in and on Saturday February 8 the ‘Mark Brasser Memorial Hay Run’ set off bound for Adelong where Mark had contacts who had lost everything.
Mandy said emotions were running high as they set off Saturday morning.
“There was sadness on the loss of a great mate and for those we were yet to meet who had lost everything, but our hearts were also full of pride that we are able to help in some way,” she said.
“Driving down High Street Maldon with our convoy of trucks loaded with almost 500 hay bales and 18 ton of stockfeed pellets and a ute load of dog food it was an amazing feeling seeing people out with their Aussie flags waving us off.”
The trip took over seven hours one way and consisted of a pilot vehicle driven by Sarah and Blake Martin from Myall, trucks and drivers included Matt Leech from JJ Leech and Sons, Chris and Lynne Dalton and Leech Earthmoving, Nathan Long, Tarlesha Droney and Slingo Earthmoving, Joel and Cass at Four Mile Trucking, Steve and Jake Earl at Earls Express, Paul Russell, Mick Green, Ian and Johnny Bright, Mark and Jedd Oxley, Jason, Jan and Steven Hull and Lucy Purcell, Spike and Mandy Long of Long Haul Trucking with Whitelocks dropdeck trailer.
“Adelong [Batlow fire region] was the chosen destination due to Mark having a contact there and personally knew of farms that had been decimated,” Mandy said.
“Knowing that the fodder would be delivered directly onto these farms and not lose funds to red tape this was the best option so that all funds would go to directly to those who have lost everything.
“On arrival at Adelong there were patches of fire-scarred land but nothing that really surprised us so each truck headed to its individual destination to unload.
“Meandering roads into the very hilly country led us to our particular destination – a farm about 10 kilometres out of town.
“Once off the bitumen we came over the crest of a hill and the scene was like an apocalypse, everything in sight had gone.
“The family greeted us and all were fighting back tears at the generosity of our wonderful little community. “They explained that horrible day only weeks ago and how they tried to save their livelihood.
“Luckily the bulk of their stock survived but their house didn’t nor did their neighbours’ homes and most in that valley were in the same position. This feed will now keep the stock going for the imminent future.”
Mandy thanked all those who supplied much-needed feed – Doug Curnow, Punton family, Kim and Aidan Brasser, Frankling Custom Feeds Koondrook, and the ones who made sure the doggies weren’t forgotten – Gayle and Peter Allitt, Dale Martin, Laura Kaylock, Petstock Castlemaine, Deanne Day, Jess and Dal Pasco, Paul and Leah Martin, Scott and Alleena Burger, Sarah and Blake Martin.
“Without all of these people we would not have been able to achieve such a wonderful feat,” Mandy said.
“We all met back at the local hotel for some much-needed tucker and an ale or two in Mark’s memory and shared the stories from each family that we had the honour to meet.
“On behalf of Kim and Aidan and our great crew that made this happen we would like to simply say thanks to the hundreds of people that have donated their hard-earned money. This is where it went and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
The MyCause fund continues to gain momentum and this will enable another hay run to be completed in the near future.
If you would like to donate visit the Mark Brasser Memorial Hay Run to Fire Affected High Country Farmers page at www.mycause.com.au