Tomago Aluminium, its employees and contractors have dug deep once again and raised $50,000 for the NSW Rural Fire Service, which will be divided between four local brigades.

While fires were still rampaging across the state, staff initiated the Tomago Aluminium Bushfire Appeal and donated $21,000. Tomago Aluminium more than matched the staff donations, adding another $29,000 to take the total donation to $50,000. 

It all started when Tomago employee and RFS volenteer, Mitchell Keen approached the company asking for a $500 donation towards an ice machine for a fire truck at his Williamtown-Salt Ash brigade.

The company and his workmates responded with a $50,000 donation to four local RFS brigades. Mitchell’s suggestion to raise money for the RFS was met with overwhelming support at a time when a large number of Tomago staff were involved in volunteering their time to fight fires with local RFS brigades.

“As an associate of the Williamtown-Salt Ash brigade, and not being as active as I used to be, I wanted to do something to help the RFS during the bushfire crisis, Mitchell said.

 “I knew the guys were in need of an ice machine for their truck, so I approached Tomago to see if anyone would like to donate towards this. “The Bushfire Appeal was set up and everyone jumped on the back of this. After setting up the funding scheme, the donations snowballed in.”

Rural Fire Service District Coordinator for Infrastructure, Inspector Glenn Byrnes, said the money would be divided equally between four local brigades - Raymond Terrace, Medowie, Thornton and Salt Ash – Williamtown.

“Those units will identify where and how the money will be allocated and spend it accordingly, possibly on their stations or on equipment such as thermal imaging cameras, portable radios or computer equipment that will help them into the future,” Inspector Byrnes said.

He added that the 2019/2020 bushfires were unprecedented in their size and ferocity and thanked both Tomago Aluminium and the broader corporate sector not only for the financial support but also for the understanding given to volunteer firefighters within their ranks. Commenting on the generosity of Tomago Aluminium’s employees and contractors, company Chief Executive Officer, Matt Howell, said the employee-led initiative reflected the importance of the bushfires to the Tomago workforce.“We have a large number of employees onsite who are Rural Fire Service volunteers so it was a cause that resonated with so many of us,” Mr Howell said.

“Looking after each other is what Australians do and we are proud to support the Rural Fire Service,” he added. “The RFS has worked tirelessly over the last few months and it is good to be able to show our support.”

Tomago Aluminium’s employees are no strangers to throwing their weight behind worthwhile causes. In 2018 its workforce came together to support farmers struggling with the ongoing drought, collecting $25,000 for the Buy a Bale campaign. That sum was also matched by the company and became a $50,000 donation.

Every year Tomago Aluminium employees and management also donate more than $50,000 to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and more than $100,000 to a number of local charities and community events.

Pictured above: Tomago Aluminium CEO Matt Howell (center) with Brenton Walton (Operational Officer for the RFS Lower Hunter Region) and RFS representatives from Williamtown-Salt Ash, Medowie, Thornton and Raymond Terrace brigades.

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