THE WESTPAC Rescue Helicopter Service has launched a new appeal in the Tamworth region to raise awareness and funds to keep the chopper in the sky.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced face-to-face gatherings to be cancelled and a slew of the organisation's fundraisers to fold, including events like the popular Westpac Rescue Ball in Tamworth and annual bike ride.
Instead, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is asking those that can spare a little cash to make a donation to the helicopter before the end of June.
This year marks the 20-year anniversary of the chopper operating in the Tamworth area, but it's the first time this kind of appeal for cash has been launched locally.
"I just think that the helicopter is one thing that can affect, God forbid, the entire community, no matter where you are or what you do for a living, it's an extension of the health network into the bush," the organisation's chief executive officer Richard Jones said.
"We rely very heavily on community support, have done since 1975, so we sort of work on the old 'a little bit from a lot of people can make a difference'."
He said the business is respectful of the fact hard times have plagued regional Australia recently - from drought and bushfires to the "dreaded" coronavirus - but every dollar counts.
"It goes into operating expenses of the service, we've got to look towards the future ... so it'll assist us to continue to provide those life saving flights throughout the region," he said.
To donate to the Westpac rescue chopper, visit the appeal's website.
However, for Mr Jones, it isn't just the money tin that matters.
"One of the things for me personally, having done this for 24 years, is the thousands and thousands of people that come together at all sorts of events, even little barbecues, or our wonderful volunteer network selling tickets down the street, the helicopter sort of drags people together and everyone has their own little story about the helicopter in the region," he said.
Mr Jones aid the service has also partnered with oOh! Media to put up billboards across Northern NSW to let people know they're "still here for you 24/7", no matter what.