Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has praised the “community spirit” of the people of Tumut in the Riverina region of NSW after helping to deliver a new bus worth almost $150,000 to the Gadara School for Specific Purposes (SSP).
Fittler was joined by True Blues Danny Buderus, Steve Menzies and Beau Scott, who are riding with him on the Hogs For The Homeless tour across regional NSW to help raise money for Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets program.
Also in attendance were NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden, Gadara School Principal Moira Kingwill, Red Energy Regional Business Development Manager Neil Thew, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Joe Cassar, NSW Police Chief Executive Dominic Teakle and Commander Mark Wall.
“It’s a great effort and shows a lot of community spirit,” Fittler said.
“That’s the whole idea of what Hogs For The Homeless tries to do is to create spirit.
“I think what we did was give them the confidence to say, 'This can happen'. They then went out and did the legwork, and then Red Energy helped at the end.”
The Gadara School first approached Hogs For The Homeless in 2016 to help raise awareness and funds to replace their 30-year-old school bus which had no air-conditioning, wheelchair access and was prone to break down.
A GoFundMe page got off to a promising start after a sizable donation from Magic Glass before Gadara School P&C became more involved with locals Shane Walsh and Lisa Sturt making strong contributions, while Red Energy paid for all modifications needed for the bus at the end.
The new Toyota bus worth almost $150,000 includes a microphone, air-conditioning, wheelchair access and removable seats to accommodate more students or students in wheelchairs.
“It’s much more spacious and the students will be able to sit in that in much more comfort than what they have been,” Gadara School principal Moira Kingwill said.
“It’s been a fantastic community effort and the Hogs helped raise awareness in Sydney after talking about it on The Footy Show.
“The Hogs kicked off the GoFundMe page and then the whole local community became aware about it and that’s when the fundraising started.”
Red Energy Regional Business Development Manager Neil Thew said: “Our assistance with the Gadara School bus will enhance the lives of the students attending the school, providing better learning opportunities for all.”
Hogs For The Homeless has been in operation since 2013 and has raised almost $700,000 for Youth off the Streets. The tour started in Sydney last Friday and has included football clinics at Lennox Head, Moree, Tamworth and Orange.