New home for four kids and car­ers

Myrtleford Times - - News -

It’s hard to put into words the sense of com­mu­nity that was so pal­pa­ble on Satur­day night at the thankyou bar­be­cue and cel­e­bra­tion for the com­ple­tion of the 4 Kids and Car­ers Fu­ture Foun­da­tion (4KCFF) home.

It marked a ma­jor mile­stone in an epic ef­fort that be­gan in May last year to sup­port the four Wan­garatta kids and their car­ers who were left dev­as­tated by the tragic events which claimed the lives of the chil­dren’s par­ents on An­zac Day 2017.

Ja­son Reid, chair of the 4KCFF, was un­der­stand­ably emo­tional as he wel­comed the army of tradies, vol­un­teers, spon­sors and busi­nesses from across the North East who ral­lied to sup­port the foun­da­tion in its quest to pro­vide a com­fort­able, new five bed­room home in Yar­ra­wonga Road for the fam­ily.

He es­ti­mated more than 160 in­di­vid­u­als had been in­volved in the build.

“As we know the in­ci­dent on An­zac Day jolted fam­ily, friends, ac­quain­tances and com­plete strangers to do some re­mark­able things, such things as this mag­nif­i­cent prop­erty we are stand­ing on to­day,” Mr Reid said.

“Af­ter the in­ci­dent many com­mu­nity mem­bers got to­gether to or­gan­ise a fundraiser which raised in ex­cess of $80,000, along with funds raised on two sep­a­rate GoFundMe pages which took the tally to in ex­cess of $100,000.”

Lo­cal groups in Wan­garatta, Bright and Moyhu were meet­ing to ar­range sup­port in many ways and or­gan­ise fundrais­ers for the four chil­dren and their ex­tended fam­ily.

Mr Reid told of his meet­ing with John and Bren­ton Dunne and sev­eral other Wan­garatta peo­ple and, with sup­port from many lo­cal busi­nesses and ma­jor com­pa­nies such as Price Water­house Coop­ers and Moore’s Solic­i­tors, the 4KCFF was formed.

“What we found was that even these large firms were will­ing to as­sist the fam­ily for no fees, such was the grav­ity and af­fect their cir­cum­stances had on all who be­came aware of it,” Mr Reid said.

“Doreen Wessel from Edge FM/3NE men­tioned that Cav­a­lier Homes had raised the idea the foun­da­tion should build the fam­ily a house and a meet­ing was ar­ranged be­tween the foun­da­tion and Dale and Shane from Cav­a­lier Homes.

“It wasn’t long be­fore ev­ery­one re­alised what a mas­sive com­mit­ment it was to build a house but there was never a hur­dle too large to over­come.”

Alot of land in Yar­ra­wonga Road was pur­chased and a plea made to tradies, sub­con­trac­tors and sup­pli­ers to help out. “The Wan­garatta Chron­i­cle put out a call to arms and we had an over­whelm­ing re­sponse,” Mr Reid said.

“That was when we fi­nally thought this might wor,k although still with much trep­i­da­tion.

“We had a site meet­ing once the block set­tled and I met a lot of the guys, and we sent out re­quests for as­sis­tance to ma­jor sup­pli­ers and trades and nearly all of them came back with an over­whelm­ing pos­i­tive re­sponse.

“It was about this time I was think­ing ‘who will hold all of this to­gether’ and then a bloke called ‘Stretch’ Everett rang me.

“Stretch got crack­ing and be­fore long he had the un­der- slab or­gan­ised, and heaps of blokes and ma­chines to do the work.

“It then be­came ev­i­dent to me that Stretch wasn’t stop­ping there.

“I soon learned Stretch knew every tradie in the re­gion and just made it hap­pen.

“He spent every day of every week with the ex­cep­tion of five days dur­ing the con­struc­tion, or­gan­is­ing every as­pect of the house build.

“The re­ally amaz­ing as­pect of what tran­spired here was the guys from Cav­a­lier, Stretch, Ray Grif­fin, Clay­ton Hines, Mitch Hill and so many of their mates and other tradies did not know the fam­ily from a bar of soap, but be­cause of their gen­eros­ity, their em­pa­thy and their amaz­ing skills, we are all stand­ing here now less than five months af­ter the soil was turned.

“As far as I know it’s nearly a record in Wan­garatta on a house build this size.

“Stretch and the rest of you, you are all amaz­ing and on be­half of the foun­da­tion, the grand­par­ents, and the four kids, we can­not and will never be able to thank all of you enough.”

Mr Reid thanked the Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta and the coun­cil­lors for their sup­port, and Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Val­ley) and called on the com­mu­nity lead­ers present to ac­knowl­edge what had tran­spired over the months and to in­tro­duce them­selves to the peo­ple who made it hap­pen.

He also sought some as­sis­tance from ru­ral city mayor Ken Clarke and the coun­cil­lors present to pro­vide some bu­reau­cratic as­sis­tance to Stretch.

“Stretch was work­ing at the site when he had a bad tooth ache and had to rush into town to see a den­tist,” Mr Reid said.

“Un­for­tu­nately he got a park­ing ticket; Stretch said it was be­cause the bloody ma­chine wasn’t work­ing.

“Come on Ken, I’m sure you can sort some­thing out for our mate Stretch.”

Satur­day night’s cel­e­bra­tion was aslo tinged, how­ever, by the mem­ory of the tragedy that cre­ated the fam­ily’s need in the first place.

“We need to send the mes­sage out that we should never have had to do this in the first place,” Mr Reid said.

“This is an im­por­tant mes­sage our com­mu­nity lead­ers can as­sist us in get­ting out to the broader com­mu­nity and in ad­vance we thank them for that.

“I think it is very im­por­tant that our lead­ers try not to for­get the lessons learned and strive to make sure this doesn’t hap­pen again.”

Mr Reid em­pha­sised this great achieve­ment was not the end of the foun­da­tion’s long term role to sup­port the fam­ily.

“We will be here for the long haul, it’s not cheap to raise four kids,” he said.

“We will con­tinue to raise money in a quiet way be­cause we don’t want the kids to feel too dif­fer­ent to their friends.

“We will also con­tinue to ad­vo­cate for them and their grand­par­ents and spread the mes­sage that what hap­pened on that day should never hap­pen again.

“To all of you who have helped so much, we thank you.”

Rochelle Ma­her, a close friend of ther four chil­dren’s mother, Ora Holt, bravely put into words the ex­pres­sion of thanks to the 4KCFF and the hun­dreds of peo­ple who had re­alised the dream of a new home.

“Ora was a kind, lov­ing, happy, self­less per­son who al­ways thought of oth­ers first,” Rochelle told the gath­ered crowd.

“Ora al­ways put her chil­dren first, right to the end. Ora is and al­ways will be a hero; she’s my hero.

“You too are all he­roes, you have put four chil­dren and Ora’s par­ents be­fore your­selves. “I thank you for what you have done.” Mr Reid also ac­knowl­edged the sac­ri­fice part­ners and fam­i­lies of vol­un­teers had made while they worked on the site.

Life will re­turn to rel­a­tive nor­mal­ity for those who were in­volved in this re­mark­able achieve­ment but the new five bed­room, two bath­room home for four kids and their car­ers will stand tes­ta­ment to a mo­ment when an en­tire re­gion ral­lied for one fam­ily.

PHOTO: Cam Pot­ter

A JOB WELL DONE: Just some of the more than 160 tradies, busi­nesses, vol­un­teers and spon­sors who gath­ered on Satur­day night to cel­e­brate the com­ple­tion of a new five bed­room, two bath­room home for four Wan­garatta chil­dren - left or­phaned in tragic cir­cum­stances last year - and their car­ers.

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