MUSWELLBROOK truckie Len Kelman is about to hit the road again.
But, instead of transporting hay to farmers in need, the Merriwa-born and bred local will deliver free portable water this time to the men and women on the land.
Last month, Mr Kelman – aided by Muswellbrook and District Workers Club, Muswellbrook RSL Club, Muswellbrook Landscape Supplies and Biglift Cranes and Heavy Haulage – joined forces with Need for Feed Disaster Relief, a project of Lions clubs, to convey 60 square bales (almost 29 tonnes) from Victoria to his former home town.
At the time, he promised to undertake another journey.
And, true to his word, he’s hopping into his rig, with the full support of Lions, SRH Milk Haulage, Muswellbrook Shire Council and Upper Hunter Shire Council.
“I’m keen to help our farmers any way I can,” Mr Kelman said.
“Muswellbrook [Shire] Council will supply 140,000 litres of water per week, while Upper Hunter [Shire] Council is coming on board, too.
“Scott Harvey, from SRH Milk Haulage, has also provided a 30,000-litre tank.
“Lions will pick a location – it could be Merriwa, Denman, Muswellbrook, Gundy or Scone, for example,” Maitland president and second vice-district governor Geoff Kilmurray added.
“Then we’ll coordinate a letter box drop in that area to let local residents know, starting next Tuesday (August 14).
“Lenny will park his truck there; and those who need water can fill up a pod or two.
“That way they all collect a bit.
“If we select, say, 20 farmers at a time, we’ll eventually get to everyone in the Upper Hunter.
“It’s the fairest way.
“But, they’ll need to bring proof of their address – a rate notice or utilities bill.
“And, if people stick to their community, it will work beautifully.
“This project will continue while the public supports it.”
Mr Kelman was an integral part of the 12-to-15-truck convoy, which arrived at the Merriwa Showground on July 28.
That involvement left an indelible mark on him.
“The reaction, from the residents, was fantastic,” he said.
“In fact, it’s given me the inspiration to carry on.
“When we drove into Merriwa, people were cheering in the streets, clapping and flying the Aussie flag.
“Others from Muswellbrook made the trek to Dunedoo, just to support us.
“Lions also provided a beautiful dinner for all the volunteers.
“All up, it was a very moving experience.
“I still get emotional talking about it.”