60 volunteer pilots delivering supplies to rural towns
ONE MAN is determined to fill the skies with as many planes to deliver crucial medical supplies to ensure regional health care workers can stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Lefrancke touched down his own plane in Roma from Caboolture airfield just over a month ago to deliver 20kg of precious cargo including hand sanitiser, masks and gowns after hearing Roma was in dire need of medical supplies.
After seeing the gratitude from Roma Anglicare service co-ordinator, Tracey O'Brien who described the delivery as a "godsend," Mr Lefrancke was inspired to spread the initiative to as many regional towns in Australia as possible.
He created the Facebook group, 'Essential Medical Air Delivery Volunteers,' shortly after where pilots across Australia can join the movement to deliver medical PPE and essential medical supplies to country towns.
"Delivering the medical supplies to Roma is was what inspired me to create the Facebook page," he said.
"I just kept thinking about how I could do something more to help and there's got to be other communities that need the same thing."
The Facebook page now has over 60 volunteer pilots as far as Melbourne and South Australia who have jumped on board, eager to offer their services whenever needed.
"These guys and gals can fly in any weather or time of the day and in faster aircraft then mine. Ashley that took up the PPE gear to Longreach the other day was up and back in 6 hrs from Caboolture," Mr Lefrancke said.
"It's fantastic to see such a positive response after only a short time, and to have so many people who are willing to give their time, aircraft and fuel to help regional towns.
"It just goes to show that the Aussie spirit is really there and in times like this, we will do everything we can to help our mates."
The Brisbane-based maintenance co-ordinator for Anglicare southern Queensland said while the services have been for not for profit organisation, aged care homes or doing it tough farmers, they are looking to expand.
"We are thinking that we can even deliver to "for profit" businesses that are willing to make a small donation to a charity or maybe donate fuel to the aircraft owner," Mr Lefrancke said.
"I guess we are just trying to get the word out there to really gauge if there is a need in outback communities for this type of fast small supplies air delivery service.
"We are calling out to organisations like Rotary or Apex.
"The sort of groups who have their finger on the pulse of the towns and can come back and tell me who needs supplies so we can help them."