In Praise of Everyday Heroes

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 Anne here. A month ago I blogged about extreme weather and the heat wave that struck Melbourne, the city I live in. The next day we had the worst bushfires in our history. The extreme heat, the prolonged drought and the weather conditions on the days following all contributed to the most appalling disaster. 

Whole communities have been devastated, two hundred and ten people killed, hundreds of houses, thousands of animals killed, and miles and miles of beautiful bushland reduced to ash and charcoal.  Words cannot describe the tragedy that resulted. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones, homes, livelihoods in the fire. Almost everyone I know has someone who has been touched by this disaster.

Below is the view from Kinglake, one of the devastated communities, to the city. [Picture: David Geraghty]Ciytyscape

The speed, intensity and power of the fires was unimaginable. Cars melted as people tried to drive them away. Houses, and all their contents were reduced to ash and rubble. It came like a tsunami of fire, and whole communities, accustomed to fighting bushfires, were devoured in minutes. 

Fireman

Which brings me to the topic of this blog. I'm not talking about heroes in books this time. This is a tribute to the everyday heroes who've been fighting these fires, day and night for weeks on end. The firefighters, the men and women who've battled on, exhausted in the heat and smoke, facing the unimaginable, but never giving up.

Because the vast majority of these ordinary men and women are volunteer firefighters. They are members of the Country Fire Authority, which is one of the largest volunteer-based organizations in the world. The CFA services more than 150,000 square kilometres and 2.8 million people, and currently has nearly 60,000 active volunteers with almost 500 career firefighters and 700 career support staff.[Photo: Jason South (theage.com.au)]

They are volunteers, unpaid, but highly trained, regularly risking their lives, and giving up their time to fight fires. In the last month they have worked around the clock to bring these fires under control. Some of them have lost their own houses to the fires while they were battling to save someone else's.

Heroes one and all. As are their partners, the husbands and wives who support them, and the families who must cope with the anxiety and the aftermath. It's not just a dangerous, exhausting job, it's also emotionally devastating. 

 The fires raged on. For weeks the city air was  a haze of smoke. But a few days ago it rained — the first rain we've had in months — and finally, finally the last of the bushfires were brought under control. [Photo : David Caird]

Rain

And after the fires passed, while the firefighters and volunteer rescue services were cleaning up, more heroes came to pick up the pieces; the survivors — human and animal — fed, clothed and housed, the tragic remains identified. Donations have been flooding in — the whole country is appalled by the loss. People are desperate to help.

Almost immediately after the fires were reported, other local communities started to organize. There but for the grace of God…

Following is part of an email sent to me by a friend, a fellow writer who volunteers as a tourist guide one morning a week. It was sentn on 11th February. I have her permission to share it. 

Today was simply amazing – our local shire took it upon themselves  to put out a plea for any sort of animal needs from budgie to camel. We  diverted the big stuff – that's on its way already – what we coped with today  was the small stuff. I have never seen a com
munity so desperate to do something. We had old men with budgie food and old ladies staggering under 40 kg bags of dog food and people who looked like they had no money to bless themselves with coming in with a boot load of quality dog  food – `in small lots cos they'd be more useful in a tent' – aren't some people thoughtful? We had vets arriving with vet stuff – things like teats for injured animals – we had kennels arriving – one guy arrived with ten brand new trampoline beds for big dogs. And so much kitty litter!!! The woman I was working with was muttering "What's wrong with ash?" We filled the local hall which is huge. People came to give and stayed to help.


We had wooden pallets donated – every time we needed something it  generally took half a phone call – moving van guys donated boxes – we needed plastic and tape and the manager of local stationery supplier was there in a  minute -we'd organized trailers but just when the stuff was starting to look overwhelming, one guy came in with a whole bunch of horse gear —fantastic stuff — his daughter's grown out of riding – looked around said you guys look like you could use a semi trailer and five minutes later he had it organized so we have a huge semi – then had to reorganize load so every centre gets what it needs and stuff is easy  to unpack. Thanks to our stationery guy every pallet is cling wrapped so they're totally weather proof and vermin proof.


Cos I had a name tag – there were five of us with name tags – everyone assumed we knew what we were doing and amazingly it sort of worked. Half way through the afternoon when tins of cat food were starting to blow a hole in our heads the manager of the local disability workshop arrived with ten kids – they took over a couple of stalls and did the most fantastic job boxing tins according to pics on cans. And the people,… I can't tell you – horse floats and ancient utes and a zippy little open topped Mazda Mx 5 loaded with chook feed – lined up in the street waiting for their turn to unload.


And one lady brought in a huge load of old blankets which was fab – looked at us all, went away and came back with two cartons of cold drinks. Aren't people fabulous?


Ain't it the truth? People can be fabulous, and we need to remind ourselves of that, when the media mainly shows us the other side of the coin. There are everyday heroes all around us, not just in books.

So who are your everyday heroes? 

60 thoughts on “In Praise of Everyday Heroes”

  1. We had the same sort of experience here in Houston after Hurricane Ike. People who just wanted to help came out of the woodwork and pitched in. Yet the recovery efforts from this storm in August are still continuing. We have a mission group heading to Galveston during Spring Break to get more repairs done for folks who can’t afford it. Despite what the media portrays, most people are good at heart and willing to help those less fortunate.

    Reply
  2. We had the same sort of experience here in Houston after Hurricane Ike. People who just wanted to help came out of the woodwork and pitched in. Yet the recovery efforts from this storm in August are still continuing. We have a mission group heading to Galveston during Spring Break to get more repairs done for folks who can’t afford it. Despite what the media portrays, most people are good at heart and willing to help those less fortunate.

    Reply
  3. We had the same sort of experience here in Houston after Hurricane Ike. People who just wanted to help came out of the woodwork and pitched in. Yet the recovery efforts from this storm in August are still continuing. We have a mission group heading to Galveston during Spring Break to get more repairs done for folks who can’t afford it. Despite what the media portrays, most people are good at heart and willing to help those less fortunate.

    Reply
  4. We had the same sort of experience here in Houston after Hurricane Ike. People who just wanted to help came out of the woodwork and pitched in. Yet the recovery efforts from this storm in August are still continuing. We have a mission group heading to Galveston during Spring Break to get more repairs done for folks who can’t afford it. Despite what the media portrays, most people are good at heart and willing to help those less fortunate.

    Reply
  5. We had the same sort of experience here in Houston after Hurricane Ike. People who just wanted to help came out of the woodwork and pitched in. Yet the recovery efforts from this storm in August are still continuing. We have a mission group heading to Galveston during Spring Break to get more repairs done for folks who can’t afford it. Despite what the media portrays, most people are good at heart and willing to help those less fortunate.

    Reply
  6. *crying* The human spirit is an amazing thing. With everything wrong in the world, something like this restores one’s hope in humanity, that if enough everyday people come together, bringing something small with them, they can make such a huge impact.
    I’ve not heard much about the fires other than what you and a few others have posted. Thanks for keeping us up to date on how things are going.

    Reply
  7. *crying* The human spirit is an amazing thing. With everything wrong in the world, something like this restores one’s hope in humanity, that if enough everyday people come together, bringing something small with them, they can make such a huge impact.
    I’ve not heard much about the fires other than what you and a few others have posted. Thanks for keeping us up to date on how things are going.

    Reply
  8. *crying* The human spirit is an amazing thing. With everything wrong in the world, something like this restores one’s hope in humanity, that if enough everyday people come together, bringing something small with them, they can make such a huge impact.
    I’ve not heard much about the fires other than what you and a few others have posted. Thanks for keeping us up to date on how things are going.

    Reply
  9. *crying* The human spirit is an amazing thing. With everything wrong in the world, something like this restores one’s hope in humanity, that if enough everyday people come together, bringing something small with them, they can make such a huge impact.
    I’ve not heard much about the fires other than what you and a few others have posted. Thanks for keeping us up to date on how things are going.

    Reply
  10. *crying* The human spirit is an amazing thing. With everything wrong in the world, something like this restores one’s hope in humanity, that if enough everyday people come together, bringing something small with them, they can make such a huge impact.
    I’ve not heard much about the fires other than what you and a few others have posted. Thanks for keeping us up to date on how things are going.

    Reply
  11. Anne
    I agree these volunteers are the true heros of the world they risk their lives for everyone else and the people who organize the donations are equally as good.
    I salute them all
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  12. Anne
    I agree these volunteers are the true heros of the world they risk their lives for everyone else and the people who organize the donations are equally as good.
    I salute them all
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  13. Anne
    I agree these volunteers are the true heros of the world they risk their lives for everyone else and the people who organize the donations are equally as good.
    I salute them all
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  14. Anne
    I agree these volunteers are the true heros of the world they risk their lives for everyone else and the people who organize the donations are equally as good.
    I salute them all
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  15. Anne
    I agree these volunteers are the true heros of the world they risk their lives for everyone else and the people who organize the donations are equally as good.
    I salute them all
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  16. Your post got me teared up, Anne–both for the devastation, and for the amazing response. The desire to help others in need is pretty well hardwired into most of us, I think, and we’re grateful when we have a chance to pitch in.
    I think one reason romance is such a popular genre is because it celebrates the best in people. Sure, some books focus on characters who are larger than life, but many are about average people who rise to the occasion when necessary.
    I hope you get more rain!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  17. Your post got me teared up, Anne–both for the devastation, and for the amazing response. The desire to help others in need is pretty well hardwired into most of us, I think, and we’re grateful when we have a chance to pitch in.
    I think one reason romance is such a popular genre is because it celebrates the best in people. Sure, some books focus on characters who are larger than life, but many are about average people who rise to the occasion when necessary.
    I hope you get more rain!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  18. Your post got me teared up, Anne–both for the devastation, and for the amazing response. The desire to help others in need is pretty well hardwired into most of us, I think, and we’re grateful when we have a chance to pitch in.
    I think one reason romance is such a popular genre is because it celebrates the best in people. Sure, some books focus on characters who are larger than life, but many are about average people who rise to the occasion when necessary.
    I hope you get more rain!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  19. Your post got me teared up, Anne–both for the devastation, and for the amazing response. The desire to help others in need is pretty well hardwired into most of us, I think, and we’re grateful when we have a chance to pitch in.
    I think one reason romance is such a popular genre is because it celebrates the best in people. Sure, some books focus on characters who are larger than life, but many are about average people who rise to the occasion when necessary.
    I hope you get more rain!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  20. Your post got me teared up, Anne–both for the devastation, and for the amazing response. The desire to help others in need is pretty well hardwired into most of us, I think, and we’re grateful when we have a chance to pitch in.
    I think one reason romance is such a popular genre is because it celebrates the best in people. Sure, some books focus on characters who are larger than life, but many are about average people who rise to the occasion when necessary.
    I hope you get more rain!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  21. The CFA truly does rock, as do all the Melbourne-ites and Aussies who went way above and beyond the call of duty.
    I lived in Sandringham for two years and visited several of the places (including Marysville) that are no longer on the map. Having seen Aussies in other disasters, including the tsunami, I can just imagine the response.
    I think my everyday heroes are anyone who sees what’s happening and does something about it, whether it’s helping an old lady across the street or staying with a bunch of families in a cricket oval as a firestorm going 60kms an hour surges towards them.
    Australia, and especially my lovely Melbourne (I still miss it), are in my prayers. You all are amazing.

    Reply
  22. The CFA truly does rock, as do all the Melbourne-ites and Aussies who went way above and beyond the call of duty.
    I lived in Sandringham for two years and visited several of the places (including Marysville) that are no longer on the map. Having seen Aussies in other disasters, including the tsunami, I can just imagine the response.
    I think my everyday heroes are anyone who sees what’s happening and does something about it, whether it’s helping an old lady across the street or staying with a bunch of families in a cricket oval as a firestorm going 60kms an hour surges towards them.
    Australia, and especially my lovely Melbourne (I still miss it), are in my prayers. You all are amazing.

    Reply
  23. The CFA truly does rock, as do all the Melbourne-ites and Aussies who went way above and beyond the call of duty.
    I lived in Sandringham for two years and visited several of the places (including Marysville) that are no longer on the map. Having seen Aussies in other disasters, including the tsunami, I can just imagine the response.
    I think my everyday heroes are anyone who sees what’s happening and does something about it, whether it’s helping an old lady across the street or staying with a bunch of families in a cricket oval as a firestorm going 60kms an hour surges towards them.
    Australia, and especially my lovely Melbourne (I still miss it), are in my prayers. You all are amazing.

    Reply
  24. The CFA truly does rock, as do all the Melbourne-ites and Aussies who went way above and beyond the call of duty.
    I lived in Sandringham for two years and visited several of the places (including Marysville) that are no longer on the map. Having seen Aussies in other disasters, including the tsunami, I can just imagine the response.
    I think my everyday heroes are anyone who sees what’s happening and does something about it, whether it’s helping an old lady across the street or staying with a bunch of families in a cricket oval as a firestorm going 60kms an hour surges towards them.
    Australia, and especially my lovely Melbourne (I still miss it), are in my prayers. You all are amazing.

    Reply
  25. The CFA truly does rock, as do all the Melbourne-ites and Aussies who went way above and beyond the call of duty.
    I lived in Sandringham for two years and visited several of the places (including Marysville) that are no longer on the map. Having seen Aussies in other disasters, including the tsunami, I can just imagine the response.
    I think my everyday heroes are anyone who sees what’s happening and does something about it, whether it’s helping an old lady across the street or staying with a bunch of families in a cricket oval as a firestorm going 60kms an hour surges towards them.
    Australia, and especially my lovely Melbourne (I still miss it), are in my prayers. You all are amazing.

    Reply
  26. As a fellow Melburnian, I have to say … great post!
    We weren’t physically all that close to the fires, but we know people who lost family members and homes, and we also know people who spent the best part of a month fighting the fires as they burned day after day. The people who give up their time and risk their lives to try and help others are definitely heroes.
    I work for one of the major charities and the outpouring from people who just wanted to help was amazing, to the point where there was just no room to take anything more in donations of goods, and still people want to help in any way they can!

    Reply
  27. As a fellow Melburnian, I have to say … great post!
    We weren’t physically all that close to the fires, but we know people who lost family members and homes, and we also know people who spent the best part of a month fighting the fires as they burned day after day. The people who give up their time and risk their lives to try and help others are definitely heroes.
    I work for one of the major charities and the outpouring from people who just wanted to help was amazing, to the point where there was just no room to take anything more in donations of goods, and still people want to help in any way they can!

    Reply
  28. As a fellow Melburnian, I have to say … great post!
    We weren’t physically all that close to the fires, but we know people who lost family members and homes, and we also know people who spent the best part of a month fighting the fires as they burned day after day. The people who give up their time and risk their lives to try and help others are definitely heroes.
    I work for one of the major charities and the outpouring from people who just wanted to help was amazing, to the point where there was just no room to take anything more in donations of goods, and still people want to help in any way they can!

    Reply
  29. As a fellow Melburnian, I have to say … great post!
    We weren’t physically all that close to the fires, but we know people who lost family members and homes, and we also know people who spent the best part of a month fighting the fires as they burned day after day. The people who give up their time and risk their lives to try and help others are definitely heroes.
    I work for one of the major charities and the outpouring from people who just wanted to help was amazing, to the point where there was just no room to take anything more in donations of goods, and still people want to help in any way they can!

    Reply
  30. As a fellow Melburnian, I have to say … great post!
    We weren’t physically all that close to the fires, but we know people who lost family members and homes, and we also know people who spent the best part of a month fighting the fires as they burned day after day. The people who give up their time and risk their lives to try and help others are definitely heroes.
    I work for one of the major charities and the outpouring from people who just wanted to help was amazing, to the point where there was just no room to take anything more in donations of goods, and still people want to help in any way they can!

    Reply
  31. Dear Anne,
    Thank you for your moving account of the Victorian bushfire tragedy. I am always amazed and humbled at how affected communities pull together during these horrible times. And the kindness of strangers is also overwhelming and uplifting.
    While I’m here, I would also like to thank you for your role in the Romance Bootcamp 109 workshops. I loved your sessions – you really made me think about conflict/tension in a story in a whole new light. I’m sure my writing will be much improved because you were kind enough to share your knowledge and wisdom. Best wishes, Shayne

    Reply
  32. Dear Anne,
    Thank you for your moving account of the Victorian bushfire tragedy. I am always amazed and humbled at how affected communities pull together during these horrible times. And the kindness of strangers is also overwhelming and uplifting.
    While I’m here, I would also like to thank you for your role in the Romance Bootcamp 109 workshops. I loved your sessions – you really made me think about conflict/tension in a story in a whole new light. I’m sure my writing will be much improved because you were kind enough to share your knowledge and wisdom. Best wishes, Shayne

    Reply
  33. Dear Anne,
    Thank you for your moving account of the Victorian bushfire tragedy. I am always amazed and humbled at how affected communities pull together during these horrible times. And the kindness of strangers is also overwhelming and uplifting.
    While I’m here, I would also like to thank you for your role in the Romance Bootcamp 109 workshops. I loved your sessions – you really made me think about conflict/tension in a story in a whole new light. I’m sure my writing will be much improved because you were kind enough to share your knowledge and wisdom. Best wishes, Shayne

    Reply
  34. Dear Anne,
    Thank you for your moving account of the Victorian bushfire tragedy. I am always amazed and humbled at how affected communities pull together during these horrible times. And the kindness of strangers is also overwhelming and uplifting.
    While I’m here, I would also like to thank you for your role in the Romance Bootcamp 109 workshops. I loved your sessions – you really made me think about conflict/tension in a story in a whole new light. I’m sure my writing will be much improved because you were kind enough to share your knowledge and wisdom. Best wishes, Shayne

    Reply
  35. Dear Anne,
    Thank you for your moving account of the Victorian bushfire tragedy. I am always amazed and humbled at how affected communities pull together during these horrible times. And the kindness of strangers is also overwhelming and uplifting.
    While I’m here, I would also like to thank you for your role in the Romance Bootcamp 109 workshops. I loved your sessions – you really made me think about conflict/tension in a story in a whole new light. I’m sure my writing will be much improved because you were kind enough to share your knowledge and wisdom. Best wishes, Shayne

    Reply
  36. Anne, as an Aussie who is “far away” from the fires and Victoria, I loved your post with the details of both the fires and the volunteers.
    Yep, I agree – those firefighters are true heroes. And those helping afterward show there are heroes everywhere.

    Reply
  37. Anne, as an Aussie who is “far away” from the fires and Victoria, I loved your post with the details of both the fires and the volunteers.
    Yep, I agree – those firefighters are true heroes. And those helping afterward show there are heroes everywhere.

    Reply
  38. Anne, as an Aussie who is “far away” from the fires and Victoria, I loved your post with the details of both the fires and the volunteers.
    Yep, I agree – those firefighters are true heroes. And those helping afterward show there are heroes everywhere.

    Reply
  39. Anne, as an Aussie who is “far away” from the fires and Victoria, I loved your post with the details of both the fires and the volunteers.
    Yep, I agree – those firefighters are true heroes. And those helping afterward show there are heroes everywhere.

    Reply
  40. Anne, as an Aussie who is “far away” from the fires and Victoria, I loved your post with the details of both the fires and the volunteers.
    Yep, I agree – those firefighters are true heroes. And those helping afterward show there are heroes everywhere.

    Reply
  41. Sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I drove up to Canberra (National Capital) on Sunday and cleverly left my laptop at the front door, so haven’t been able to access email or respond to comments. Luckily I’d already written my blog so was able to get it uploaded, but that was all.
    MJ, I totally agree with you. I believe most people are good-hearted and want to help, and it’s a shame that the media reports end up giving us the opposite impression. It’s wonderful to think of your group pitching in to help the victims of Cyclone Ike. The spirit of helpfulness and real desperation to help here has renewed my faith in the human spirit.
    Romance Writers of Australia have been running a book donation scheme for the bushfire victims, and books have been arriving not only from all corners of Australia, but also from various parts of the world, particularly the US and UK. Today, 3 boxes of books arrived from the Word Wenches, which is wonderful. More details at http://www.romanceaustralia.com

    Reply
  42. Sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I drove up to Canberra (National Capital) on Sunday and cleverly left my laptop at the front door, so haven’t been able to access email or respond to comments. Luckily I’d already written my blog so was able to get it uploaded, but that was all.
    MJ, I totally agree with you. I believe most people are good-hearted and want to help, and it’s a shame that the media reports end up giving us the opposite impression. It’s wonderful to think of your group pitching in to help the victims of Cyclone Ike. The spirit of helpfulness and real desperation to help here has renewed my faith in the human spirit.
    Romance Writers of Australia have been running a book donation scheme for the bushfire victims, and books have been arriving not only from all corners of Australia, but also from various parts of the world, particularly the US and UK. Today, 3 boxes of books arrived from the Word Wenches, which is wonderful. More details at http://www.romanceaustralia.com

    Reply
  43. Sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I drove up to Canberra (National Capital) on Sunday and cleverly left my laptop at the front door, so haven’t been able to access email or respond to comments. Luckily I’d already written my blog so was able to get it uploaded, but that was all.
    MJ, I totally agree with you. I believe most people are good-hearted and want to help, and it’s a shame that the media reports end up giving us the opposite impression. It’s wonderful to think of your group pitching in to help the victims of Cyclone Ike. The spirit of helpfulness and real desperation to help here has renewed my faith in the human spirit.
    Romance Writers of Australia have been running a book donation scheme for the bushfire victims, and books have been arriving not only from all corners of Australia, but also from various parts of the world, particularly the US and UK. Today, 3 boxes of books arrived from the Word Wenches, which is wonderful. More details at http://www.romanceaustralia.com

    Reply
  44. Sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I drove up to Canberra (National Capital) on Sunday and cleverly left my laptop at the front door, so haven’t been able to access email or respond to comments. Luckily I’d already written my blog so was able to get it uploaded, but that was all.
    MJ, I totally agree with you. I believe most people are good-hearted and want to help, and it’s a shame that the media reports end up giving us the opposite impression. It’s wonderful to think of your group pitching in to help the victims of Cyclone Ike. The spirit of helpfulness and real desperation to help here has renewed my faith in the human spirit.
    Romance Writers of Australia have been running a book donation scheme for the bushfire victims, and books have been arriving not only from all corners of Australia, but also from various parts of the world, particularly the US and UK. Today, 3 boxes of books arrived from the Word Wenches, which is wonderful. More details at http://www.romanceaustralia.com

    Reply
  45. Sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I drove up to Canberra (National Capital) on Sunday and cleverly left my laptop at the front door, so haven’t been able to access email or respond to comments. Luckily I’d already written my blog so was able to get it uploaded, but that was all.
    MJ, I totally agree with you. I believe most people are good-hearted and want to help, and it’s a shame that the media reports end up giving us the opposite impression. It’s wonderful to think of your group pitching in to help the victims of Cyclone Ike. The spirit of helpfulness and real desperation to help here has renewed my faith in the human spirit.
    Romance Writers of Australia have been running a book donation scheme for the bushfire victims, and books have been arriving not only from all corners of Australia, but also from various parts of the world, particularly the US and UK. Today, 3 boxes of books arrived from the Word Wenches, which is wonderful. More details at http://www.romanceaustralia.com

    Reply
  46. Theo, there’s been a lot of similar crying here. Some of the stories were just too shattering to share on a blog.
    But yes to the restoration of faith in humanity. The process of reconstruction is just beginning, but a good start has been made.
    When I drove to Canberra, the highway passed through a corner of the burnt-out region. It was a landscape in black and sepia, and very sobering to see. But already the rubble of some burned buildings had been cleared away, and people were getting ready to rebuild.
    Helen, yes, so many volunteers, doing so much wonderful work. The surf lifesavers are another group of volunteers who give their time and effort to keep us safe.

    Reply
  47. Theo, there’s been a lot of similar crying here. Some of the stories were just too shattering to share on a blog.
    But yes to the restoration of faith in humanity. The process of reconstruction is just beginning, but a good start has been made.
    When I drove to Canberra, the highway passed through a corner of the burnt-out region. It was a landscape in black and sepia, and very sobering to see. But already the rubble of some burned buildings had been cleared away, and people were getting ready to rebuild.
    Helen, yes, so many volunteers, doing so much wonderful work. The surf lifesavers are another group of volunteers who give their time and effort to keep us safe.

    Reply
  48. Theo, there’s been a lot of similar crying here. Some of the stories were just too shattering to share on a blog.
    But yes to the restoration of faith in humanity. The process of reconstruction is just beginning, but a good start has been made.
    When I drove to Canberra, the highway passed through a corner of the burnt-out region. It was a landscape in black and sepia, and very sobering to see. But already the rubble of some burned buildings had been cleared away, and people were getting ready to rebuild.
    Helen, yes, so many volunteers, doing so much wonderful work. The surf lifesavers are another group of volunteers who give their time and effort to keep us safe.

    Reply
  49. Theo, there’s been a lot of similar crying here. Some of the stories were just too shattering to share on a blog.
    But yes to the restoration of faith in humanity. The process of reconstruction is just beginning, but a good start has been made.
    When I drove to Canberra, the highway passed through a corner of the burnt-out region. It was a landscape in black and sepia, and very sobering to see. But already the rubble of some burned buildings had been cleared away, and people were getting ready to rebuild.
    Helen, yes, so many volunteers, doing so much wonderful work. The surf lifesavers are another group of volunteers who give their time and effort to keep us safe.

    Reply
  50. Theo, there’s been a lot of similar crying here. Some of the stories were just too shattering to share on a blog.
    But yes to the restoration of faith in humanity. The process of reconstruction is just beginning, but a good start has been made.
    When I drove to Canberra, the highway passed through a corner of the burnt-out region. It was a landscape in black and sepia, and very sobering to see. But already the rubble of some burned buildings had been cleared away, and people were getting ready to rebuild.
    Helen, yes, so many volunteers, doing so much wonderful work. The surf lifesavers are another group of volunteers who give their time and effort to keep us safe.

    Reply
  51. Mary Jo, that’s it, exactly — people are grateful to have a chance to pitch in. And I do believe there is an everyday hero in most of us — I suppose that’s why I write romance. I know dreadful things happen, but the human spirit is extraordinary 🙂
    Jessica, lovely comment. And I’m with you on the everyday hero. The thing is, those men and women who brave the firestorms and clear up after cyclones and tsunamis and other disasters are probably the same as the ones who help old ladies across the street. They’re all around us.
    Marg, you and many others like you are doing great work. The outpouring of good will and the need to help is almost tangible, isn’t it?

    Reply
  52. Mary Jo, that’s it, exactly — people are grateful to have a chance to pitch in. And I do believe there is an everyday hero in most of us — I suppose that’s why I write romance. I know dreadful things happen, but the human spirit is extraordinary 🙂
    Jessica, lovely comment. And I’m with you on the everyday hero. The thing is, those men and women who brave the firestorms and clear up after cyclones and tsunamis and other disasters are probably the same as the ones who help old ladies across the street. They’re all around us.
    Marg, you and many others like you are doing great work. The outpouring of good will and the need to help is almost tangible, isn’t it?

    Reply
  53. Mary Jo, that’s it, exactly — people are grateful to have a chance to pitch in. And I do believe there is an everyday hero in most of us — I suppose that’s why I write romance. I know dreadful things happen, but the human spirit is extraordinary 🙂
    Jessica, lovely comment. And I’m with you on the everyday hero. The thing is, those men and women who brave the firestorms and clear up after cyclones and tsunamis and other disasters are probably the same as the ones who help old ladies across the street. They’re all around us.
    Marg, you and many others like you are doing great work. The outpouring of good will and the need to help is almost tangible, isn’t it?

    Reply
  54. Mary Jo, that’s it, exactly — people are grateful to have a chance to pitch in. And I do believe there is an everyday hero in most of us — I suppose that’s why I write romance. I know dreadful things happen, but the human spirit is extraordinary 🙂
    Jessica, lovely comment. And I’m with you on the everyday hero. The thing is, those men and women who brave the firestorms and clear up after cyclones and tsunamis and other disasters are probably the same as the ones who help old ladies across the street. They’re all around us.
    Marg, you and many others like you are doing great work. The outpouring of good will and the need to help is almost tangible, isn’t it?

    Reply
  55. Mary Jo, that’s it, exactly — people are grateful to have a chance to pitch in. And I do believe there is an everyday hero in most of us — I suppose that’s why I write romance. I know dreadful things happen, but the human spirit is extraordinary 🙂
    Jessica, lovely comment. And I’m with you on the everyday hero. The thing is, those men and women who brave the firestorms and clear up after cyclones and tsunamis and other disasters are probably the same as the ones who help old ladies across the street. They’re all around us.
    Marg, you and many others like you are doing great work. The outpouring of good will and the need to help is almost tangible, isn’t it?

    Reply
  56. Shayne, thanks for your comment. Email really has shrunk the world in so many ways, and it’s great to know there is a network of good will stretching so far.
    As for the class, it was my pleasure. I’m very glad it helped. Best of luck with your writing.
    Rachel, you’re a volunteer-extraordinaire yourself for RWAust, so prepare to be ‘outed’. (Rachel Bailey is a newly contracted author for Silhouette Desire, who edits the magazine for Romance Writes of Australia, and also initiated the series of on-line ‘bootcamps’ for beginning romance writers across Australia. As well she initiated and runs a critique partnering service which gets rave reviews, so a big hand for you, Rachel, for all you do for others and for RWAust)

    Reply
  57. Shayne, thanks for your comment. Email really has shrunk the world in so many ways, and it’s great to know there is a network of good will stretching so far.
    As for the class, it was my pleasure. I’m very glad it helped. Best of luck with your writing.
    Rachel, you’re a volunteer-extraordinaire yourself for RWAust, so prepare to be ‘outed’. (Rachel Bailey is a newly contracted author for Silhouette Desire, who edits the magazine for Romance Writes of Australia, and also initiated the series of on-line ‘bootcamps’ for beginning romance writers across Australia. As well she initiated and runs a critique partnering service which gets rave reviews, so a big hand for you, Rachel, for all you do for others and for RWAust)

    Reply
  58. Shayne, thanks for your comment. Email really has shrunk the world in so many ways, and it’s great to know there is a network of good will stretching so far.
    As for the class, it was my pleasure. I’m very glad it helped. Best of luck with your writing.
    Rachel, you’re a volunteer-extraordinaire yourself for RWAust, so prepare to be ‘outed’. (Rachel Bailey is a newly contracted author for Silhouette Desire, who edits the magazine for Romance Writes of Australia, and also initiated the series of on-line ‘bootcamps’ for beginning romance writers across Australia. As well she initiated and runs a critique partnering service which gets rave reviews, so a big hand for you, Rachel, for all you do for others and for RWAust)

    Reply
  59. Shayne, thanks for your comment. Email really has shrunk the world in so many ways, and it’s great to know there is a network of good will stretching so far.
    As for the class, it was my pleasure. I’m very glad it helped. Best of luck with your writing.
    Rachel, you’re a volunteer-extraordinaire yourself for RWAust, so prepare to be ‘outed’. (Rachel Bailey is a newly contracted author for Silhouette Desire, who edits the magazine for Romance Writes of Australia, and also initiated the series of on-line ‘bootcamps’ for beginning romance writers across Australia. As well she initiated and runs a critique partnering service which gets rave reviews, so a big hand for you, Rachel, for all you do for others and for RWAust)

    Reply
  60. Shayne, thanks for your comment. Email really has shrunk the world in so many ways, and it’s great to know there is a network of good will stretching so far.
    As for the class, it was my pleasure. I’m very glad it helped. Best of luck with your writing.
    Rachel, you’re a volunteer-extraordinaire yourself for RWAust, so prepare to be ‘outed’. (Rachel Bailey is a newly contracted author for Silhouette Desire, who edits the magazine for Romance Writes of Australia, and also initiated the series of on-line ‘bootcamps’ for beginning romance writers across Australia. As well she initiated and runs a critique partnering service which gets rave reviews, so a big hand for you, Rachel, for all you do for others and for RWAust)

    Reply

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