Armidale and District National Servicemen Association president Barry Dawson handed out two $500 cheques on Friday morning at the Armidale Ex-Services Club. One went to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, and the other went to St Vincent de Paul, specifically to help a local family that has fallen on exceptionally hard times.
"The cheques are the proceeds of a raffle we held here recently," Barry said.
It's very good being a volunteer knowing that, while people like you, they don't really want to fly with you.Pam Pateman Westpac Rescue Helicopter
"The raffles and donations are part of our program with the national servicemen. Our motto is, 'We once served our country, we now serve our community.' and making these two donations is part of that serving our community.
"Westpac do a lot of good, It's a service we like to see and make sure they operate, but it's a service we don't want to use. We're impressed with the history of Westpac helicopter, they help a lot of people out and we're just doing our little bit too."
Pam Pateman accepted the cheque on behalf of Westpac Rescue Helicopter and said it relied on community support.
"The NASHOs have supported us in the past and we're very pleased to receive this again," Pam said.
"It's very good being a volunteer knowing that, while people like you, they don't really want to fly with you. But, unfortunately, it is a very busy service, and it is well utilised in the area."
President of St Joseph's Conference St Vincent de Paul Don Hewett said the donation would go towards helping a local family suffering from some long-term health problems.
"We won't name these people, but they have been battling health problems almost right through the whole family for a number of years now," he said.
Don said the father was a professional sports coach who now had a debilitating, incurable arthritic condition. His wife was unable to continue working full-time because she had to care for her family.
"They have four children. One is an 11-year-old boy who suffers from serious asthma and a heart condition requiring surgery at Westmead Hospital," he said.
"We are preparing to assist with the heart operation, which we estimate will require out of pocket expenses of $500 for the mother and son to stay at Westmead Hospital for 10 days.
"A further $200 will be required in Armidale to support the family with transport costs, as the mother is the only driver."