Topics:  brothers leagues club, drinking water, emergency situations, firefighters, firefighters expenses, firies, fundraiser, ipswich, ipswich's rural brigades, volunteers, water

Keeping water up to firies

Brothers Leagues Club general manager Mark Hennelly presents another two pallets of bottled water to local rural fire brigades while senior Ripley Rural Fire Brigade fire fighter Brian Evans (left) looks on.
Brothers Leagues Club general manager Mark Hennelly presents another two pallets of bottled water to local rural fire brigades while senior Ripley Rural Fire Brigade fire fighter Brian Evans (left) looks on. Rob Williams

YOU'D think water would be the one thing firefighters would never have any trouble getting hold of.

For a long time, that wasn't necessarily the case for Ipswich's rural brigades, who used to spend thousands of dollars each year to supply volunteers with drinking water while on the job.

Things changed for the better about five years ago, thanks to a chance meeting on the middle of a football field between long-serving Ripley Valley firefighter Brian Evans and Brothers Leagues Club manager Mark Hennelly.

It was during a masters game between Brothers and Norths that Mr Evans told Mr Hennelly about the plight of the local firies in trying to fundraise to cover the costs of the endless expenses incurred by the region's rural firefighters.

"We used to pay $7 per carton - but that's just the drinking water," Mr Evans said.

"After the footy game I approached Mark with a sheet of all the things that we had to pay for ourselves.

"He told me he'd go back to his board and see what they could do to help."

Luckily for the firies, Mr Hennelly and his fellow Brothers board members were able to strike up a deal with soft drink and water supplier Schweppes.

The company agreed to match any offer made by the Brothers Club, which resulted in a significant contribution of bottled water to the Ipswich brigades each year.

In the five years that the donations have been running, Mr Evans estimates that Brothers and Schweppes have saved fire brigades thousands of dollars.

The latest consignment of 100 cartons of water was delivered this week.

Mr Hennelly was initially shocked to hear how much fundraising was required to keep the Ipswich rural brigades going.

"We buy large amounts of water and soft drink and I just thought at the time that it was something we could easily accommodate," Mr Hennelly said.

"It was good of Schweppes to get involved and we are all pleased that we can help because rural firies do a great job - not only with fires, but various other emergency situations."



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