RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue stages a water emergency at Gladstone Harbour.
RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue stages a water emergency at Gladstone Harbour. Tegan Annett

Donate to chopper, you might need them one day

MORE than one-in-five of all calls for help to the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service come from the Gladstone region.

Service relationships manager Graham Sheppard said finding enough funds to keep the helicopter in the air was a tough task.

"It costs $6 million a year to keep the helicopter in the sky," he said.

"Of that, 40% comes from the government and our naming rights sponsor RACQ; the rest needs to come from the community it serves."

That means each year the service needs to find $3.6 million.

Mr Sheppard said a number of the region's larger companies provided sponsorship, but not enough to keep the service viable.

So a new scheme has been devised so that all residents can do their bit to help out.

The scheme involves inviting employees of businesses to have deductions ranging from $2-upwards to be made from their pay packets on a weekly basis.

"If we can get 10,000 people to donate just $2 a week, we would collect just over $1 million - and that would go a long way to help.

"At the moment there are very few people in Gladstone who donate in this way.

"The process is very simple. An employee just needs to fill in a form; it will be sent to the payroll office and donations will start."

The service operates its helicopter from Agnes Water in the south to St Lawrence in the north, west to Alpha and east out into the ocean.

"We quite often fly to ships where a crew member has fallen ill," said Mr Sheppard.

On average the helicopter makes one trip every day of the year, with about 40% of those flights for 40hospital transfer work and the remainder emergencies.

Businesses interested in encouraging their employees to donate can make contact with Mr Sheppard at sponsorship@chrs.org.au.



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