3 MILLION LITRES: Humble hero helps through dark days
FOR the past 11 months, there's been one humble man putting in countless hours and thousands of dollars to ensure Southern Downs residents are able to hold their heads high.
As of this Saturday, George Deen will deliver his three millionth litre of water to Granite Belt Water Relief and the Stanthorpe region.
His drought relief campaign started in September of last year and it's estimated he's spent more than $100,000 of his own money and 11,000 hours of his time to help our region's rural residents.
"You see some of these farmers come to town to get water, and they'll be a husband and wife, with one of them in their 70s and the other one in their 80s, the poor buggers trying to get 1000L of water, lining down the street" he said.
"It makes you want to cry."
Mr Deen started with a 10 trailer load drop off of drinking water with Muslim Aid Australia, but soon realised rural farmers, and their stock, were still missing out.
Acquiring a water tank, from there, his mission took form as he started carting up to five loads of potable water per week.
It was at times an exhausting undertaking for the 2020 Rotararian of the Year for District 9630.
"I know of days where I'd leave work at 5pm, get to Stanthorpe at 9pm, unload, and then drive back to Brisbane and get back at midnight," he said.
"I just wanted to get them the water they needed as much as I could
"We have a duty to help other people and it's not something to take lightly."
Founder of Granite Belt Water Relief Russell Wantling said the "non-stop" effort has helped families going.
"He's been loyal to us. He's gotten offers to buy the water off him for private use but he wouldn't do it," Mr Wantling said.
"Whenever he knows I'm low, he always makes the trip."
Even as drought support fades, Mr Deen said he would continue to be there for the local community as long as he could.
"I know the drought's not gone," he said.
"If you drive through Warwick to Stanthorpe, back in January there were dams on the side of the road, with water in them, but the last few times they've all been dry again.
"Every time I go there, people shake my hand give me a hug because they're desperate.
"For me, I'll do it as long as I can afford to."
Mr Deen will be there celebrating Granite Belt Water Relief's reopening from 8.30am - 11.30am on Saturday July 18.