Great deeds often begin with a random act of kindness. At least that was the case for the Sapphire Wind Farm’s Buy a Bale drive that raised $60,000 for drought-affected farmers.
It all began when Duncan Donohue, a Sarens crane operator from Victoria, held up $20 at a Toolbox Talk and challenged his fellow workers to match him and raise money for drought-affected farmers in the region.
“There was passion in his voice, because he understands what farmers are going through, as he comes from the land himself,” said Patric Millar, Environmental Technical Advisor for the Sapphire Wind Farm project.
“He reminded everyone that we’re all visitors to the area and should leave behind something good. There was not spontaneous applause, but people took note.”
One thing lead to another, and all companies at the wind farm hopped on board, matching each other’s donations. Four hectic weeks of planning, barbecues and raffles helped create an avalanche of offerings to the tune of $60,000 to provide at least six semi-trailer loads of hay.
Local farmers are encouraged to register on the Buy a Bale website (https://www.buyabale.com.au/can-we-help-you/) to receive assistance.
The last of the 75 turbines at the Sapphire Wind Farm was erected on October 31, reaching another milestone for the project that is nearing completion.
“Even though all the turbines are up, the site is still a hive of activity,” said Mr Millar. “There are a range of commissioning activities currently underway, along with the removal of the three largest mobile cranes in Australia.”
But even after the project is done and dusted, Sapphire Wind Farm hopes to make good on its promise togive back to the community in a long and tangible way through the continuation of its Community Benefit Fund.
The fund exceeds $180,000 for 2019, and will be available for eligible community projects within the Inverell Shire. Applications are expected to be called for in January.