News Release

Tales from the Trenches

A group of 150 volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dressed in their bright yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests, was featured on Channel Seven's Sunrise program late last week.

In a report on the Queensland volunteer flood relief efforts, program host, David Koch, interviewed Church member, Mike Perritt, who serves as Stake Welfare Director in the Brisbane Australia Stake. Mr. Koch came upon the hard-working Church members unexpectedly and decided to put them to air in a live hook-up with the main studio. To view the YouTube video click here.

The efforts of Church member volunteers also received unexpected recognition when Patty Beecham of the Brisbane suburb of Paddington created a YouTube video describing the efforts of a group of Church members who arrived from nowhere to help her clean up her devastated home. Ms. Beecham, who is not a Latter-day Saint, introduces the eight-minute video by saying, "How do you clean a house that has flooded and thank the Mormon Angels who came to help?" Click here.

According to Bishop John Murala, of Brisbane Ward in the Brisbane Australia Stake, the volunteer effort was a major logistical exercise all by itself.

"(From the meeting place at the temple at Kangaroo Point in the early morning), our 15 team leaders took their groups to the assigned sites. Because of the number of volunteers and because River Terrace Ward members were in the mix we added an extra two homes to (our original list of 15). Each team was provided with a large bucket of tools, hoses and gloves to help with the clean-up. Each team was typically 10-20 people."

Bishop Murala, a pediatric heart surgeon at Brisbane's Mater Hospital, said that, while 250 members had come to the rally point, additional numbers, possibly 50 – 80, went straight to various work sites.

"Over time these teams began to spread out and find their own work to do within the neighbourhood. Some five more roads, with somewhere between three to five homes on each, were assisted in some way. Based on calculations of 300 members working from 8am to 3pm we believe that close to 2000 hours were contributed (on the day)."

Bishop Murala's summary for the day: "Assigned homes were completed quickly so teams began helping neighbours. Many additional helpers showed up on-site creating some confusion and congestion. Lunch and drinks were gratefully accepted from the Relief Society (the Church woman's association) and now we know why it is called "relief" society.

"Had some minor scrapes and cuts which were taken care of on site. Public seemed surprised by the total number in our groups and their cheerful willingness to assist in the clean-up. Most of the volunteers were covered in silt and dirt at the end of hard day's labour. We sincerely thank all for your love and support."


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