A Griffith truckie who put smiles on the faces of drought-stricken farmers in northern NSW last week will never forget the gratitude he was shown.
Hometown hero Brendan Farrell’s arm is still sore from shaking the hands of sheep and cattle graziers whose livestock was saved by the mercy dash.
All told, 52 trucks towing 72 trailers carted 2340 bales of hay from Western Australia and Burrumbottock to Bourke and Lightning Ridge where drought has ravaged farms.
Mr Farrell said he becomes emotional every time he logs onto Facebook and sees all the messages of thanks.
“I’ve had so much positive feedback because people have recognised we’re keeping the spirit of Australia alive through a really goodwill gesture,” Mr Farrell said.
“The thanks from all the farmers has been overwhelming, I keep getting emotional every time I get a call or go online.”
Mr Farrell wasn’t the only one moved to tears when Bourke welcomed the convoy like celebrities.
“There was not one dry eye in any of the trucks as we went into Bourke, we were treated like rock stars,” he said.
“There were caravans on the side of the road, people applauding, flashing their lights and beeping their horns and parents and kids held up signs.
“They all put on great hospitality as well, they fed us like kings and we all drank like there was no tomorrow, it was just a great atmosphere.”
Mr Farrell is confident that one day the Riverina will need a hand and the farmers up north will be there at the drop of a hat.
“All the hours spent organising such a big event took a lot of toll on my wife and three kids,” he said. “And it wasn’t just me, all the truckies put in a lot of time with me but the reward is huge.
“It’s all about paying it forward, one day we’ll be in the grips of a major drought and we’ll have friends to call on.”