Bingara Garden Club members were inspired by a speaker at this month’s club meeting held at Robyn and Peter Jones’ home.
David Roach, a pilot with the New England Volunteer Air Transport (NEVAT), outlined the amazingly generous outreach of NEVAT to provide air transport to Tamworth, Armidale and Toowoomba for non-emergency patients to their various medical appointments. They currently fly from airstrips at Ashford, Inverell, Glen Innes, Warialda and Texas.
What makes the story even more significant is that membership of NEVAT is only $50 for singles and $75 for couples annually and chemotherapy, renal and burns patients need not become members. No one at NEVAT gets paid. All are volunteers including ground staff and pilots. Every dollar they raise goes directly into providing the service. They are, in fact, Australia’s only 100% Volunteer Air Transport Service.
Pilots are highly trained,and the small Beechcraft aircraft, piloted by 11 volunteer pilots, is meticulously maintained. Since its first flight in September 2007, 105 missions and 194 passengers have been flown to their various treatments.
A small State Government allocation has been given to NEVAT to upgrade plane efficiency but, for the main part, it is funded by membership and fund raising.
It is certainly refreshing to learn about a small group of generous people making an effort to really Make A Difference to the lives of country people.
NEVAT can be contacted by phone at Ashford Bakery, 6725 4448.