The small town of Jerona will soon be less isolated in times of crisis thanks to the construction of a helicopter landing site.
Volunteers from the Jerona Citizens Association are managing the project, with funding provided by Queensland Country Credit Union’s Good for Good Community Grants.
Community groups across Queensland were invited to apply for a share of $100,000 to fund a particular project, with successful applicants ranging from a road safety training track for young cyclists, to essential first aid equipment for a triathlon club.
Association President Gary Read said the helicopter landing site would ensure all residents and visitors to Jerona would have access to emergency medical care and assistance in life threatening situations.
“By road, we are 45 minutes away from Ayr Hospital and 80 minutes from Townsville,” Mr Read said.
“Aside from the fact that’s already a long way to travel one-way in an emergency, there are times where, due to flooding or other road conditions, ambulance transport is simply not impossible,” he said.
“OG Air Rescue Townsville has already attended Jerona several times over the past few years but their current ability to land in a suitable area at all times has been a major concern.
“With the new helicopter landing site, QG Air Rescue can be at Jerona in about eight minutes from activation - this significant time difference could well be the difference between life and death.“
An element of Queensland Country’s Good for Good Community Grants involves the concept of paying it forward, with grant recipients partnering with the Credit Union to fundraise 10% of their grant amount for Ronald McDonald House Charities. That fundraising will be boosted with an additional $20,000 contribution from Queensland Country.
Queensland Country Local Manager Debbie Szendrey said her team was proud to give back to the community in a tangible way.
“The Credit Union received 64 applications from not-for-profit groups around the state, who were seeking funding of between $5,000 and $30,000 to get their important projects off the ground,” Ms Szendrey said.
“It was really heart-warming to see how much good is being done at a grass-roots level in our communities,” she said.
“Choosing the grant recipients was a difficult challenge for our judging committee, but ultimately the winners were chosen based on the genuine benefits their projects would bring to the community, as well as their ability to pay it forward, or do ‘good for good’ by fundraising for our charity partner.”
This is the first year that Queensland Country has run the Good for Good program, and follows a long history of supporting local initiatives.
“We have injected $2 million into community projects since 2005,” Ms Szendrey said.
“It’s all part of our difference as a customer owned banking organisation. Without shareholders to pay dividends to, we can invest our profits into local communities while providing the best possible products and services to our Members.”