Heavy lifting at toy library aids community recovery

AIR Force’s Combat Support Element (CSE), made up of 383SQN and 65SQN personnel has capped a fortnight of flood relief support with much needed assistance to the Townsville Toy Library.
AIR Force’s Combat Support Element (CSE), made up of 383SQN and 65SQN personnel has capped a fortnight of flood relief support with much needed assistance to the Townsville Toy Library.
 
Operation North Queensland Assist, the ADF’s support to the Queensland Government in response to severe flooding in the Townsville region, started on 1 Feb 19 and has seen Air Force and Army personnel in Townsville combine for a joint response to assist the community clean-up.
 
Commanding Officer 383 Squadron, Wing Commander (WGCDR) Alan Brown, said the Townsville-based Air Force personnel had completed a range of tasks from local clean-up of property and children learning centres, logistics support and assisting emergency services.
 
He said one of the final tasks was the assistance to the Townsville Toy Library, a completely non-profit toy library service for young children, had lost more than $55,000 of toys in the devastating flood.
 
“The recent floods have completely devastated the library with sewage infested flood water destroying the 40-year old community-run organisation in a day,” WGCDR Brown said.
 
“383SQN and 65SQN personnel have seen the devastation of the floods first hand as we’ve worked with 3 Combat Engineer Regiment in this recovery phase, cleaning up all the personal belongings people have had to dispose of onto the streets.
 
“We’ve seen the impact it has had on the children of the city by the volume of toys that have had to be thrown out because of the toxic flood waters.
 
“If there was ever a need for a toy library it’s now. By assisting the library to get back up on its feet quickly we hope to be able to bring some normality back to the families and especially the kids who have lost everything.”
 
WGCDR Brown said seven Mack dump trucks personnel were required to assist in the clean-up of the Toy Library and about 30 personnel were assigned to flood relief tasks each day.
 
“With over 1000 toys destroyed, the toy library has heavily impacted and because it supports a large proportion of Townsville’s young families with fun educational toys for children, the local impact will be significant.
 
“Townsville is our home so 383SQN and 65SQN hope to continue supporting the toy library in the future.”
 
Elise Moore, Townsville Toy Library president, said the entire content of the toy library was unsalvageable and the support of the Air Force and Council had provided immediate relief with the clean out of their premises.
 
“We are devastated by what has happened - 40 years of Community Spirit wiped out in an instant! We may have lost everything in the building but we are determined to come back stronger than ever,” Ms Moore said.
 
“We can’t thank the Council and the RAAF enough for their support in this challenging time.
 
“The Toy Library is determined to get back on their feet as soon as possible to support the families that have lost everything and bring community spirit back to the forefront.
 
“Our desire to find a new premises is strong and with the support of the Council, Military and their 335 members we are sure to be back on track in no time.”