Their 35-year-old Mack water tanker proved its worth when its crew delivered 9000 litres of much-needed water to a remote farming property 45km inland from Bodalla on the New South Wales south coast on January 14.
CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers Private Daniel Muntz (left) and Private Brendan Harvey deliver 9000 litres of water to remote-property owner Donna Thomson, who’s water pump was destroyed by bushfires, leaving her, her family and her livestock dangerously short of water. The soldiers are from the Brisbane-based 7th Combat Service Support Battalion. Phot and story by Sergeant Dave Morley.
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Driver Private Daniel Muntz and co-driver Private Brendan Harvey, of the 7th Combat Service Support Battalion, made the eight-hour round trip from Cooma, navigating along narrow mountainous tracks through fire-devastated forests.
At one point they had to wait half an hour while a local council front-end loader cleared a path across a creek where a bridge had been burnt out.
Private Muntz said he was happy just being able to help fellow Aussies get back on their feet.
“What is a routine task for us was vital for them – it feels good to give a bit back to the community,” Private Muntz said.
“These people have been through a lot and every little bit of help from us helps them immensely.”
Property owner Donna Thomson, a registered nurse at Bega Hospital, and her husband James, a councillor on Eurobodalla Shire Council, were down to just 300 litres of water for themselves and their livestock.
She said they contacted the Department of Primary Industry for help and they arranged an Army water drop.
“We were so impressed the Army was prepared to come all the way out here when no-one else would,” she said.
“These boys are bloody amazing – they drove long distances to bring us water.
“They were professional, they were polite – if it wasn’t for Daniel and Brendan we’d have been in serious trouble.”