CapRescue soars across Central Qld in 2023

As the sun set in 2023, RACQ CapRescue reflected on a year of continuing to make a real difference through unwavering commitment and the tremendous support of the Central Queensland community.

January witnessed a flurry of 50 rescues, setting the stage for a year of challenges and triumphs. Despite the substantial flight hours and operational costs reaching new heights, the unwavering dedication of the Rescue300 crew remained steadfast.

Throughout 2023, the crew faced diverse challenges, kicking off with the retrieval of nine people from a car in flooded waters following a deluge of rain. Missions also included attending to a man who had fallen from a horse whilst mustering on a property in Theodore to rescuing a mother and daughter from Great Keppel Island suffering severe pain from Irukandji stings.

Critical inter-hospital transfers from smaller facilities around the region demonstrated the necessity of CapRescue in remote areas for those needing more advanced medical care.

September 10th marked a significant milestone as the CapRescue crew celebrated their 10,000th rescue and took the time to reflect on their impactful journey. Despite over 500 rescues in 2023 and the daily average increasing to 1.4, the ongoing community support continued to fuel their life-saving mission.

This was made clear during the CapRescue Annual Appeal as the call for fundraising echoed around the 350,000 km2 region, and Central Queensland shone, contributing over $150,000.

Beyond their life-saving rescues, 2023 saw CapRescue actively engaging with the community through vibrant events, fostering unity and support. Colour Me Capricorn Rockhampton, held for the fifth year, raised over $13,000 with 550 participants all expressing great joy in contributing to such a meaningful cause.

Emerald witnessed its first Colour Me Capricorn on May 7th, attracting 250 participants and raising $6,000. The Rockhampton Community Open Day at CQUniversity in July offered families a fun and educational experience, while the biennial CapRescue Ball on July 21st blended glamour with heartfelt stories from past patient Kev Mauger.

Gladstone’s Community Open Day on July 30th allowed families to explore the rescue helicopter up close. The Spring Picnic in August and the CapRescue Degustation in September continued to unite the community, including the celebration of local produce in the six-course dinner presented by renowned chef Matt Golinski and guest Glen Barratt.

The year’s events wrapped up with Colour Me Capricorn Gladstone, which raised $14,000, and the ever-popular Christmas Seafood Raffle, which made some people very happy in time for Christmas.

Community fundraisers scattered across Central Queensland showcased the region’s spirit. The Springsure Working Horse Campdraft, drenched in rain, raised $20,000, highlighting the resilience of volunteers and the community’s unwavering support.

These events and the many others organised by various groups help strengthen the wings that keep CapRescue soaring above Central Queensland.

Volunteers are also a valuable part of the CapRescue family. During National Volunteer Week in May, the dedication of the StepUp CapRescue Volunteers was celebrated. The program, supported by Thiess, set records with over 1,050 collective volunteer hours in 2023, valued at over $49,000. Caitlin Buttenshaw, Community Fundraising Officer, expressed gratitude for the passion volunteers bring to each role.

Workplace-giving initiatives from businesses within the community also increased the funds raised and extended the CapRescue family. Richglen Maintenance Services demonstrated the impact of this support by matching employee contributions dollar for dollar, resulting in a significant $4,600 donation to CapRescue. In a unique initiative, 3MK Transport donated a generous $4,000 in place of client Christmas gifts, showing their commitment to keeping the community safe.

Exceptional corporate partnerships were the backbone of CapRescue’s success in 2023. Squadron Energy’s Clarke Creek Wind Farm, together with Shell QGC and Aurizon, contributed generously to install solar panels at the CapRescue hangar, reducing operating costs and championing sustainability.

Santos GLNG renewed support for another three years, ensuring seamless aeromedical service for the entire community. Hastings Deering returned as a Lift Off Partner, reinforcing shared values and dedication to community outcomes. Anglo-American’s Blue-Sky Partnership was renewed for the fifth year, resonating with the importance of health services around mining communities. Jellinbah embraced a new three-year partnership, enhancing operational viability for swift and effective rescues.

In 2023, these extraordinary partnerships propelled CapRescue to perform a record number of rescues. Together with community sponsors, dedicated volunteers, and generous supporters, it can be ensured that CapRescue remains the unwavering guardian angel for Central Queensland, always ready to answer the call in times of need. Because a region this big needs a fast response.