Debbie no match for community spirit

When tropical cyclone Debbie unleashed her fury across the Whitsundays there were many for whom beating a retreat wasn’t an option. Notably, four people with a disability who live at Endeavour Foundation’s Cannonvale site, and two staff members, had no choice but to batten down the hatches for three long days.

“A cyclone is terrifying for anyone, but particularly if you have limited understanding of what’s happening and really struggle with changes to your routine. I have to say, the residents were absolute champions throughout,” Amanda Waters from Endeavour Foundation said.

“Likewise, despite having their own families and properties to tend to, our colleagues Maree and Terry bunkered down with the residents because they, like the many people who arrived in the aftermath, were determined to ensure that everyone was safe and well. We’re so proud of how well staff and residents pulled together and did everything they could to make a difficult time bearable.

“There’s no doubt everyone’s resilience was tested! Thanks to no running water or electricity we had to use a bit of creativity, leading to us hand washing clothes and towels in the rain! But, most importantly, we made it out the other side without any ill effects. That’s of course due, in no small measure, to colleagues who travelled from across Queensland with generators, food, water and – crucially – their helping hands, and likewise the Whitsundays community who rallied to our aid. Particular thanks to Volunteer Whitsundays for their donations of gas cookers and kind offers of assistance to anyone we support in the community.”

Still busy repairing damage to the property, with trees, fencing, signage and the like having fallen prey to devastating winds and torrential rain, the local team said it was a miracle that the old school house on the site although “far from being built to cyclone standard, still withstood everything thrown at it”.

“We feel very fortunate that all our customers and staff are well and healthy, not to mention feeling privileged to be part of such a wonderful community. We hope everyone affected is able to get back on their feet very soon.”