Politicians and an army commander have been to Wauchope to thank Australian soldiers for helping build fences at properties affected by bushfires in the Hastings.
Colonel Warwick Young, Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie and Port Macquarie-Hastings Mayor Peta Pinson met BlazeAid volunteers and the soldiers at the camp in Wauchope Showground on Friday.
Colonel Young praised the soldiers' efforts.
"We are extremely proud of every one of you, and the service that you are giving. We understand that your families have had to sacrifice time with you. We want you to pass on our thanks to them," he said.
BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation helping families to rebuild their fences that have been damaged or destroyed.
The soldiers are from 2 Platoon Delta Company in the 2/17 Task Force of the Joint Task Force 1110. They arrived at Wauchope Showground on Monday January 20 and are expected to be here for several more weeks.
"Working alongside the rural families, our volunteers and these soldiers are helping to rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed," said David Edgerley from BlazeAid.
"Equally important, they are lifting the spirits of people who are often facing devastating losses through bushfires."
Meanwhile the Hastings Co-op are hosting a free barbecue lunch, information session and thank you fundraiser for BlazeAid which helps communities rebuild after natural disasters.
The event is at Wauchope Showground on Saturday February 15 at 1pm. The organisation Brothers in Need are kindly making an effort to come up from Sydney for the day and providing the BBQ lunch, along with a number of other supporting gestures and financial help. Wauchope Rotary and the Wauchope Show Society are also supporting the event.
"BlazeAid have been an amazing help in the aftermath of our bushfires in the Hastings by helping repair and maintain fence on farms and properties affected. There is still lots of work to be completed," said Tim Walker from the Hastings Co-op.
"BlazeAid are a not-for-profit charity and they need assistance now and going forward, and the Hastings Co-op is very honoured to help with the lunch and this important afternoon.
"The BBQ lunch is a thank you for BlazeAid and our local community because it's been such a tough and trying time, and we want to take a moment to say thanks. Furthermore, BlazeAid will provide information on what's available in support of our local community," added Mr Walker.