In late February, lots of rain and a rising Mary River in Conondale, Australia, washed away the road leading to 79-year-old Margaret Allen’s home.
Vehicles were unable to traverse the treacherous road, and residents trekked for miles each day to get into town. This left Margaret Allen or “Nan” in a precarious situation. There was no way she could get to town for supplies or in case of an emergency.
The city council responded quickly, saying that it would “mobilize equipment” to help with repairs, but after reviewing the costs, the machinery never made it out to Nan’s house.
The ABC Sunshine Coast reported:
A council spokeswoman said residents were aware when buying in the rural area that it was a “private access road” and that the council was not responsible for it.
“Council has provided assistance to Beausangs Lane residents where appropriate, including most recently providing emergency access via an adjoining property,” she said.
The families along the stretch said they just needed access to material and some machinery to make the road passable, and were not asking for a full upgrade or ongoing maintenance.
State MP Andrew Powell put forward their case in parliament, and referred it to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, which said it was investigating.
Since the road was an “unformed road,” it was never maintained by the Sunshine Regional Council. The council estimated that to bring the road up to the current standards, the upgrade would cost up to $500,000. With the colossal cost factoring in, the council was unwilling to fork it over.
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Tired of waiting for help, Nan’s son-in-law, Rich Hungerford, put out a rallying cry over social media. He asked for volunteers to help make the road drivable again. Being tech-savvy, he created a campaign called “No Man Left Behind.”
As the word spread through various channels, around 60 people from all walks of life turned up to help. Some brought shovels and wheelbarrows, and some farmers brought tractors.
Mr. Rich enthusiastically spoke about the team of volunteers:
“There were people from all walks of life, some veterans, some local community [members], some people we have never even heard of before,” Mr Hungerford said.
“They just turned up with shovels and wheelbarrows and a couple of local farmers turned up with tractors.
“One guy we’ve never met before hired a trailer with a backhoe on it and brought it up, and all at his own cost.
“We didn’t even know he’d done it until afterwards when we noticed the trailer.
“That’s the kind of people that are involved.”
Here are a few pictures from Mr. Rich’s Facebook page:
Although the road is a long way from being paved, vehicles are now able to drive on it again. Nan was able to go into town after about five weeks of being house-bound.
As Nan took her first ride on the newly fixed road, she broke down and cried. The love and care from all the volunteers meant so much to her.
Kudos to all those who pitched in! To hear of the sacrifices they made for someone they didn’t know gives us hope for humanity.
Each of us has the opportunity to bless others around us. Eight hours out of the volunteers’ lives gave Nan life-saving access. What are you able to do for your neighbor?