WHEN Nelson Bay’s Scott and Lynn Jarman trained to help out in disaster areas they were expecting to lend a hand in Indonesia or other overseas nations hit by natural catastrophes.
But the pair have instead stayed closer to home, spending the past several days offering hands and shoulders to those facing the aftermath of Tasmania’s ravenous bushfires.
‘‘We didn’t expect [a domestic disaster to be our first] at all,’’ Mr Jarman, who is also Nelson Bay Rotary president, said.
The two Rotarians, who have taken time out from work to cross the Bass Strait, have been helping in the south-eastern town of Dunalley and surrounding areas.
From there they had been delivering care packages called ShelterBoxes alongside Housing Tasmania.
The ShelterBoxes include a tent, blankets and water purification gear and Mr Jarman said they had been popular.
‘‘There seems to be a lot of people here who don’t want to go to the big centres,’’ he said. ‘‘They just want to stay on their property and take care of their belongings.’’
Mr Jarman said tenacity had shone through the heartbreak as he spoke with people who had lost all but their land.
‘‘We’ve heard a lot of heartbreaking stories but we’ve probably heard more about public service,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot of these little communities were isolated for a few days where they didn’t have support so they’ve banded themselves together ... it’s really inspiring.’’
Nelson Bay Rotary, Red Cross and Salvation Army are all running bushfire appeals to help those affected by the fires.