A di­a­mond ring will go un­der the ham­mer to raise funds for drought-stricken farm­ers

Gen­eros­ity has a spe­cial ring to it

NewsMail - Wide Bay Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

DI­A­MONDS are said to be a girl’s best friend, but for this Middlemount prop­erty man­ager, a ritzy rock is just a jewel that will help her raise money for fel­low farm­ers.

Caitlin Sloss, who man­ages Gund­abah with her part­ner An­drew Coyne, is do­nat­ing an in­her­ited di­a­mond ring, val­ued at about $4000, to the Drought An­gels.

The 18-carat yel­low and gold white ring, which boasts a one-carat black di­a­mond stone, is set to be auc­tioned off later this year.

Orig­i­nally the Drought An­gels (a char­ity sup­port­ing ru­ral fam­i­lies) tagged the ring to be sold at an event next year, but the ladies have moved the date for­ward for an on­line sale, hop­ing the ring may even­tu­ally be used for a Christ­mas en­gage­ment.

The stun­ning stone has been on Caitlin’s mind since it came into her pos­ses­sion.

She felt a bur­den of re­spon­si­bil­ity to make sure the family jewel was well looked af­ter (keep­ing it mostly locked in a safe) but didn’t feel emo­tion­ally con­nected to it.

“I just had a light bulb mo­ment. I thought ‘hey, if the Drought An­gels would be in­ter­ested in tak­ing it, then I would be in­ter­ested in do­nat­ing it’,” she said.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the Drought An­gels’ Natasha John­ston was stoked to hear about the ring.

“We had a mo­ment of tears when I told her. She was blown away,” Caitlin said.

Caitlin has spent her whole life work­ing in ru­ral in­dus­tries, start­ing on her par­ents’ prop­erty near Monto.

She has worked as a con­trac­tor, a meat­works stock woman and now as a man­ager. Through­out her years, she has wit­nessed first-hand how farm­ers strug­gle.

Rais­ing aware­ness of men­tal health is some­thing the 26-year-old is keen to be a part of.

“Men­tal health is some­thing I feel very pas­sion­ate about… farm­ers need to know it’s okay not to be okay,” she said.

“With the drought, I un­der­stand the strug­gle that farm­ers go through. There is noth­ing more de­press­ing than see­ing your stock die and not be­ing able to do any­thing about it.”

In her opin­ion, the stigma around men­tal health has not been lifted.

“And we are very proud too. We don’t like ask­ing for help,” she said.

“I feel the govern­ment isn’t help­ing farm­ers like they should be. I feel like they should be get­ting more sup­port.

“By (do­nat­ing the ring), I know it’s just one lit­tle thing, but hope­fully by get­ting the word out, it might make a dif­fer­ence.”

At the time of print Caitlin said their sea­son at Middlemount hadn’t been too bad. Thanks to Cy­clone Deb­bie, and a re­cent 28mm fall, there was still some green pick about.

As a young per­son, Caitlin knows she will face more chal­lenges as her ca­reer in the cat­tle in­dus­try pro­gresses, how­ever, there is noth­ing else she would rather be do­ing.

“This is some­thing I am so pas­sion­ate about. It’s the life­style I have grown up with,” she said. “It’s what makes my heart happy.”

❝ I un­der­stand the strug­gle that farm­ers go through.

— Caitlin Sloss

Keep up to date with the Drought An­gels’ Face­book page to see when the auc­tion is launched.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

STAND­ING UP: Caitlin Sloss, from Middlemount, is on a mis­sion to help her fel­low farm­ers. She has do­nated a di­a­mond ring to sup­port the Drought An­gels.

Caitlin has grown up work­ing in the cat­tle in­dus­try.

Caitlin and her part­ner An­drew Coyne man­age a cat­tle prop­erty out­side Middlemount.

BLING: A di­a­mond ring val­ued at $4000 will be auc­tioned off.

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