Valley's volunteer rescuers need assistance

Bega Volunteer Rescue Association patron Bevan Goldberg outside the VRA shed with one of the money boxes where people can donate to the squad.

Bega Volunteer Rescue Association patron Bevan Goldberg outside the VRA shed with one of the money boxes where people can donate to the squad.

ALL IN A DAY'S (UNPAID) WORK

HAVE you heard of the Volunteer Rescue Association?

“If you’re in a motor vehicle accident in the Bega Valley, we’ll be the one’s coming to get you,” Bega District VRA vice-captain Bowen Finnerty said. 

The Bega VRA squad is an organisation made up of unpaid volunteers who perform rescue operations for the whole community.

They attend an average of 25-30 callouts per year, and these operations include motor vehicle, animal, land and search rescues, providing assistance for the police and ambulance as well as any other rescue that needs to be done.

“We’ve even got a kangaroo off a roof before,” Mr Finnerty said. 

They are caretakers of the area north of Cobargo to Wolumla, and Candelo to Brown Mountain – and they need your help.

The VRA is a not-for-profit organisation and while it applies for some grants, most of its funding comes from the local community – none comes from the government or council. 

Mr Finnerty said the squad has accumulated around $500,000 worth of equipment since it began in 1976.

“Since then, everything in the shed and all the equipment have been raised by the community,” Mr Finnerty said. 

The VRA is calling for donations to keep its doors open. 

All donations are tax deductible, and any individual or businesses looking to contribute can pay weekly, monthly, yearly or just one off. 

“If it’s $5, $20, $100 – if they can afford it – it all counts, no matter what it is,” Mr Finnerty said. 

“Every five cents goes towards keeping the place running.

“The VRA has always been the primary agency for rescues in this area since it was opened in 1976, and we hope to be the primary agency for many years to come.”

If a donating business wants to be affiliated with the VRA, they can have their name on a rescue truck and the squad shed on Tarraganda Lane. 

VRA is a NSW-only organisation and Mr Finnerty said while there were around 50 VRA squads throughout the state, they were slowly dying off due to lack of funds.

Mr Finnerty joined the VRA around five years ago when he was 18.

“It’s mainly just about helping a person who is in a bad state, to get them out and get them help,” he said. 

“Every job is different – it’s like, who knows what’s next?” 

There are currently 16 active members in the Bega VRA, as well as three who are training to become rescue operators. 

“Anyone is more than welcome to come and join,” Mr Finnerty said. 

Training is held at 6pm Thursdays at the VRA shed on Taraganda Lane, and Mr Finnerty said anyone interested in joining should check it out. 

If you are interested in supporting the VRA, donate in the VRA money trucks in shops or call Mr Finnerty on 0448 786 427 to organise a payment. 

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