Meat tray brigade does its bit to keep VMR afloat
WEEK in, week out, a generous group of men from the Rocky Glen Social Club has been selling meat trays to raise money for Gladstone's Volunteer Marine Rescue.
Last week RGSC president Garry Webb and member Tony Bartlett were delighted to hand over $1000 to VMR president Rob Plumridge.
The donation was a goal the club has been trying to reach since the start of the year, after previously donating $1500 to the children's ward for Christmas and $2000 to the Movember charity.
Mr Webb said the group originally began as a fishing club five years ago, but the four committee members decided the money could go to more worthy causes.
"It came about when four of us were sitting around a table to get money together for a getaway trip," Mr Webb said.
"The plan was going ahead until we went fishing at the Hook Up and realised what bloody hard work the VMR guys do."
Mr Webb said the men were all "fishos" and they listened to the announcers every year.
"They're out there protecting us," he said.
"Last year we got stuck and ran out of fuel - luckily enough we got a tow but, if we had needed them, we know all we had to do was ask," Mr Webb said.
Mr Plumridge said the donation was much-needed as VMR's substantial costs were ongoing.
"The only money we receive is from our sponsors and fundraisers," he said.
"We have a $600,000 boat and the government only gives us $24,000 a year, which doesn't even pay our power bill."
According to Mr Plumridge, public liability and maintaining the tower were huge expenses.
"It costs $30,000 in solar to keep the radio going 24/7 also," he said. "We're here seven days a week to be here for people to pick up the phone."
Mr Plumridge said the generosity kept them going.
"Apart from money, it's volunteers that we need; we rely on those people," he said.
"For three hours of every Saturday alone, we need someone to take out everything in the boats, check it and do it again."
Mr Plumridge wanted to stress the point that one-third of people failed to log on with VMR before starting on a trip.
"They're happy to use our ramps and channels, but they don't log on or become a member," he said.