Black Dog Rider Treats
Bushfire Survivors to TLC
Ray Sherry is a farmer from Popanyinning, a tiny town in Western Australia's wheatbelt. Proudly participating in Black Dog Ride's Red Centre Rides and 1 Dayers, Ray also undertook Mental Health First Aid training by a Black Dog Rider last year.
Some would say Ray is typical of farmers, quietly spoken and with a pragmatic, just get the job done ethic. That ethic and his desire to help others stood the community in good stead after fires tore through Yarloop recently, levelling the town and tragically killing two locals, as well as threatening the towns of Harvey and Waroona.
Ray immediately coordinated a fence rebuilding project, recruiting volunteers to help farmers replace the fences on the tens of thousands of hectars of farm land. These fences are a vital safety barrier for livestock, and replacing them all is too vast a job for farmers alone.
In the course of his fencing work and liaising with locals who had survived the fire, Ray came to a realisation about the women who had survived the fire. So often in times of trauma, self-care is the first priority to be thrown out, if it was a priority at all. But after trauma, caring for oneself is an important tool in the recovery tool kit. Ray wanted to spoil these ladies who were so stoic and unbending in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
Utilising Black Dog Ride's network and his own homegrown network, Ray set about soliciting donations of time and money to make the Ladies Day Out a reality.
On 28th February, Ray picked up the ladies from Waroona, Yarloop and Harvey, and travelled by bus to Narrogin. Warmly welcomed into town by the Mayor Leigh Ballard and local MP the Hon Terry Waldron MLA as well as generous locals, the Shire of Narrogin Social Club gave each lady a $50 voucher to be spent in town, and the town itself gave discounts to the ladies on their purchases. The Narrogin CWA met the bus with gifts of nail polish, handcream and soaps.
Next stop was their pampering session, where the ladies had free haircuts, manicures and pedicures and massages, all generously donated by local business.
The bus then left for Williams Woolshed where the ladies had a free lunch and bottles of bubbly which were donated by Casella Wines in NSW. Onwards, the bus set of for Quindanning Tavern where afternoon tea awaited the ladies.
In the late afternoon, after a day of well deserved spoiling, the ladies filled the bus (and Ray's ears!) homewards with jokes and hi-jinks, high spirited women after a day they all deserved - being cared for.
It his typical humble fashion, when thanked for his monumental efforts to organise a free day out for local ladies who survived the devstating bushfires, Ray said, "It's all about making people feel better, and that's what Black Dog Ride is about."
Ray says he had a ball and learned a lot about other people who have much bigger mountains to climb than him.
Everyone involved in this grassroots project would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the people and businesses of Narrogin, WA for opening their hearts and donating their time and funds for the lovely ladies of Waroona, Yarloop and Harvey.
As for Ray, his generosity and selflessness is the epitomy of the Aussie Spirit we all talk about. Black Dog Ride is proud to call him one of our own. Thank you for making this day a reality for these awesome women Ray.
If you would like to volunteer time to help Ray repair and replace farm fencing in the fire ravaged regions, please send him a text on: 0427 778 573.
View the album of the Ladies Day Out on Black Dog Ride's Facebook Page here.
Lifeline has resources on recovering from a natural disaster or trauma here. Call Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14 if you need support.
"It's all about making people feel better, and that's what Black Dog Ride is about."
Organiser Ray Sherry