News Release

Helping Hands Volunteer at Flood Torn Tree Farm

When disaster strikes a community, Australians like to step up and help. Over 300 Helping Hands volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently worked alongside other local community volunteers in response to a call for help at the Logan River Tree Farm, in Queensland. 


Tropical Cyclone Debbie had deluged the farm with up to 3 metres of water.  Once the water receded, a layer of heavy mud up to 40cm deep remained, and about 70 per cent of the farm’s tree stock was lost.  Owner Ailsa Thompson and her staff were left with an overwhelming task, made only more difficult by the loss of Ailsa’s husband and her son five years ago, and a prior flood in 2013.

Church leader President Asa Smibert responded quickly when he learned of Ailsa’s situation through Logan City Councillor Jennie Breene.  Over the next 6 days, Church members from the Eight Mile Plains Stake volunteered more than 1,000 hours of service at the farm.  Some, like member Jared Brown, took time off work to help; Jared hired and drove a bob-cat for two days.


Working shoulder to shoulder with other community groups and individuals led to new friendships and associations.  Other volunteer groups included members of Globalcare, Mates Helping Mates; Buddhism in Action; and Rotary of Logan. 

Louie Naumovski, founder of Logan House Fire Support, posted photos and a Fb message of thanks to all of the volunteers following Saturday’s activity, “What a tremendous response. There were over 250 volunteers and 220 of them were from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mormon Helping Hands. We truly could not thank them enough. The look on the owner Ailsa’s face said it all, what a difference one week makes when the community comes together.” 

Cr Jennie Breene, who helped in the clean-up, also expressed her thanks, posting to her Fb page, “Thank You President Asa, Sandra and everyone from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, your army of beautiful people made a huge difference and I will be forever grateful.”


“This community is amazing, the support that I’ve had from people has been amazing” Mrs Thompson told a television news crew. “I don’t know them, I’ve never meet them- they just heard there was a cry for help.” 

This community support has meant that the business might open much sooner than the month that was originally projected. 


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.