'$800 of tobacco': Baffle boys deliver unusual flood relief
A FEW work mates and a tinnie was all it took to provide crucial flood relief for Baffle Creek residents during the downpour that hit the region last week.
Steve Davis from Safe-T-Step Australia partnered with son, James, Jordan Linsket and Deepwater Steel Sheds' apprentice Sam Wallace for the humanitarian mission.
The Baffle Creek area had been cut off prior to the mission with Euleilah Bridge on Hills Rd, Essendean Bridge on Tableland Rd and various other causeways blocked due to flooding.
With supplies running dry and potentially life-saving medication needed by stranded residents, Steve decided to spring into action after a call from Sam's mother, Sherril-lea Wallace who was stuck in the area.
Forking out more than $2000 from his back pocket to pay for groceries, medicine and other supplies, Steve drove from Bundaberg and met the boys at Winfield to load Sam's 4.35m Quintrex with supplies.
Once loaded, the boys launched from the Winfield Rd boat ramp and made the voyage over to Flat Rock boat ramp.
"We loaded up the boat on the Friday (October 19) and the boys took a load over, but on Saturday we had to go back out again to get medical supplies to those who needed it," Steve said.
"It was just lucky I was stuck in town and was bored to tears so it gave me something to do.
"By Thursday, Bundaberg didn't have the amount of rain that these guys had out here so the road was clear to get to Winfield."
Steve stayed put on the Winfield side of Baffle Creek, with the three boys making supply runs in the tinnie.
There were some unusual supply requests from stranded residents, with Steve making sure he kept a record of purchases.
"I've got to go through all my receipts and collect the money back - there was nearly $800 worth of tobacco," he said.
"When people run out of tobacco they climb the walls.
"In the 2011 floods the SES got hammered for bringing alcohol and cigarettes out to people.
"To be honest, there's alcoholics out here and a lot of people who smoke - cigarettes is the biggest thing people want."
But it wasn't all cigarettes and alcohol with essential staples also shipped across the creek.
"There was a heap of bread and milk, nappies, tampons, a little bit of meat and some vegetables - most of them were essentials," he said.
"There was four or five different prescriptions for people including heart medication.
"The (medication) was pretty restricted stuff; we virtually only had about three days if we didn't get it across this person could have died."
Steve said the use of Facebook community pages proved crucial in coordinating relief efforts.
"Because I'm contactable on Facebook I knew what was going on the whole time," he said.
"There's a lot that goes on in the background with gathering information and people posting photos of floodways.
"The people who aren't on Facebook are the ones who suffer because they're oblivious to what's going on in the area.
"In the 2011 flood hardly anyone was on Facebook but since the 2013 floods and now, the Facebook coverage is pretty good.
"The council can see what's going on too so we're all connected by Facebook - it's a pretty good tool."
The use of social media allowed Steve, Sam, James and Jordan the ability to run their own form of State Emergency Service, with the local SES branch short on numbers and stretched to the limit attending to other situations.
"There's only two to three people in the brigade so they're very limited in what they can do," Steve said.
The experience has prompted Steve to seriously considering volunteering for the not-for-profit organisation.
"I'm going to join when all this blows over because these guys need a hand.
"We've got a lot more support from the council too, in 2011 they didn't know what was going on down here.
"I'll see if I can get these boys to join up as well because they don't mind driving around the flood boat and helping out."