In the heat of the moment
Although the social development focus of the Old Mutual Foundation is primarily on economic empowerment, in certain circumstances the Foundation will also step in to provide disaster relief funding.
Last year in March 2015, the entire Cape Peninsula was ravaged by wild fires which devastated huge swathes of land. A central fire relief fund was set up by media house Primedia to facilitate public donations in support of the firefighting services. Old Mutual and Nedbank donated a combined sum of R450 000 to the fund, which eventually topped R3 million and was later distributed to the many firefighting units engaged in containing the fires.
Over and above this, Old Mutual employees came together and in two days gave personal contributions totalling about R40 000, with the Old Mutual Foundation adding another R25 000, and Mutual & Federal a further R50 000. It was a heart-warming show of unified support all around.
For the #Journey2 road trip, we wanted to visit Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) who were recipients of our disaster relief funding. The VWS is an entirely voluntary firefighting service made up of trained and committed members of the public, most of whom hold fulltime jobs but are always available in any emergency. Although we couldn’t recreate a fire (much to Mark’s disappointment), we meet up with VWS Station Manager Jon-Jon Emary (above right), and two Old Mutual employees and VWS volunteers, William Radue (above centre) and Carrie-Anne Kropman (above left).
Like most people, I always wonder if the money was actually received and how it was spent, so it’s great to hear that VWS was able to purchase five new firefighting vehicles, high quality protective personal equipment, radios and firefighting equipment.
While we ask the team to kit up so we can take some photo’s, Jon-Jon tells us that after the 2015 fires, over 1000 volunteer applications were received by VWS, but in the end only 67 people eventually qualified. Apparently many people dropped out after the initial rush to apply after the fires, and the remainder were knocked out by stringent fitness requirements and the infamous ‘pack test’, a stiff 4,5km hike carrying a 20,8kg pack. Eeek, firefighting is not for sissies!
And we’re off!
Growing green futures
For the love of reading
Paying it forward
In the heat of the moment
The road to Camdeboo
The light of one small candle
Investing for the future
The building blocks of business
A heart for horses
Mining for talent
My ability is greater than my disability
To be a nurse, you must be love
There’s no such thing as ‘the voiceless’
Mark my words
The place where the sun rises
Welcome to your future